England hooker’s biting hearing set for Tuesday

ENGLAND hooker Dylan Hartley’s anxious wait to discover whether he faces a lengthy ban over allegations of biting will draw closer to conclusion on Tuesday.

That is when the Northampton front row will appear before an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee, who will decide whether to ban him for up to four years.

Hartley was cited after England’s 30-9 win over Ireland on Saturday, in which it was claimed he bit flanker Stephen Ferris on the finger.

A guilty verdict would likely rule Hartley out of the three-Test tour of South Africa in June. A lenient sentence could be as short as 12 weeks, while an offence of moderate severity carries an 18-week sanction.

Serious cases can attract bans exceeding 24 weeks and, while four years is the maximum, it is only used in extreme cases.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster may be made to wait for three weeks before the Rugby Football Union decides whether to hand him the job permanently.

Lancaster, who faces competition from Nick Mallett, was interviewed yesterday and sources told City A.M. that the RFU was determined not to be rushed into a decision.