30 May 2015

Hartley replaced by player he head-butted

6:29 pm on 30 May 2015

English rugby's serial offender Dylan Hartley had an ironic comeuppance when he was dropped from the World Cup training squad for his latest misdemeanour - and replaced by his victim.

Dylan Hartley playing for England.

Dylan Hartley playing for England. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The New Zealand-born Northampton hooker received a four-week ban on Thursday for head-butting Jamie George of Saracens in a Premiership playoff match last weekend.

The uncapped George will replace Hartley in the 50-man squad, the Rugby Football Union said.

The suspension would cut across England's warm-up matches in August and the opening World Cup fixture against Fiji on Sept. 18, and coach Stuart Lancaster has decided to do without the volatile Hartley.

"We are obviously very disappointed with the situation that Dylan has put himself in and where that leaves us as a squad. I have spoken to him and he knows he has let himself and everyone down," Lancaster said.

"It also goes without saying that we need all our players to be able to control their discipline and make good decisions under pressure. The World Cup will clearly require this, and Dylan has not clearly displayed this in this latest incident."

England were already without Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi, who was omitted after being found guilty of assaulting two female police officers.

Hartley's list of previous offences includes biting, eye-gouging, swearing at a referee, elbowing and punching, which have brought suspensions totalling more than 50 weeks.

Born in Rotorua to an English mother, he moved to England as a teenager, briefly joining the Worcester Warriors academy but moving to Northampton in 2005.

Hartley was made captain four years later and has a contract to 2017.

First capped by England in 2008, he has made 66 appearances.

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