27 May 2013

Hartley ban costs him Lions tour

6:26 am on 27 May 2013

The England rugby hooker Dylan Hartley will miss the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia after being banned for 11 weeks for abusing the referee during the English Premiership final between Northampton and Leicester.

Hartley, Northampton's captain, became the first player to be sent off in a Premiership final after abusing referee Wayne Barnes and calling him a cheat which was preceded by an expletive.

New Zealand-born Hartley is replaced in the Lions party by Ireland's Rory Best.

The hooker was given a two-week ban earlier this season for striking Best, having served eight weeks for biting last year.

Six years ago he was given a 26-week ban for eye-gouging which ruled him out of the 2007 World Cup.