ENGLAND hooker Dylan Hartley is facing the prospect of a possible huge four-year ban after he was cited for allegedly biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris.
Hartley was accused of the offence during England’s 30-9 victory over Ireland in the final round of Six Nations fixtures on Saturday.
The Northampton forward faces an anxious wait to discover his fate in a hearing, after being cited for the alleged infringement in the 23rd minute at Twickenham.
If found guilty, International Rugby Board rules state that Hartley could banned for up to four years or a minimum of 12 weeks.
Either punishment would see the 25-year-old miss the summer tour to South Africa and sour an otherwise promising spring for England, who won four out of five fixtures.
Referee Nigel Owens did not see any incident but warned both captains after the allegation was raised during the Test match and warned the claim would be probed.
England captain Chris Robshaw said afterwards: “It is one of those things we will have to address when we meet up, but at the moment it is innocent until proven guilty, so to speak. We will see what happens.”