Two week ban for Hartley foul on Best

Published Thursday, 13 December 2012
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England and Northampton's Dylan Hartley has been suspended for two weeks for striking Ulster forward Rory Best.

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The hooker was cited as a result of the incident in last week's Heineken Cup clash.

Tournament organisers confirmed the outcome following a disciplinary hearing in Dublin.

A statement from European Rugby Cup said Hartley pleaded guilty to the offence.

It explained: "The judicial officer upheld the citing and employing the IRB (International Rugby Board) recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(a), determined that the offence was at the low-end entry point of two weeks.

"When considering relevant aggravating factors, the judicial officer added one week for the player's disciplinary record and then subsequently reduced the suspension by one week for the player's conduct during the hearing and guilty plea.

"Hartley will be free to play on 24 December 2012. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision."

The two teams are due to meet again for a crucial cup clash at Ravehnill on Saturday.

Chris Henry will captain Ulster, who beat the Saints last week and are favourites to make it 14 wins in a row this weekend.

But Henry said he is taking nothing for granted.

"They're hurt so they're coming here and bringing a huge amount of physicality," he said.

"It's about us preparing ourselves as well, starting the game well. We know there's a big challenge coming for us but it's a big opportunity as well."

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