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Hartley cited for alleged Ferris bite
ESPNscrum Staff
March 19, 2012
England hooker Dylan Hartley, England v Ireland, Six Nations, Twickenham, London, England, March 17, 2012
Dylan Hartley has been cited for allegedly biting Stephen Ferris © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Stephen Ferris | Dylan Hartley
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: England | Ireland

Dylan Hartley has been cited for allegedly biting Ireland's Stephen Ferris during England's Six Nations victory at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Northampton hooker will be called before a disciplinary panel to answer the charge and could face a long lay-off if found guilty, having been reported by match commissioner Alberto Recaldini.

Hartley is alleged to have bitten the finger of Ferris in the 23rd minute of England's 30-9 triumph. Biting carries a low-end entry point of a 12-week suspension, with 18 weeks for mid-range offences and 24-plus weeks at the top end in the International Rugby Board (IRB) disciplinary sanctions table. The most stringent ban is four years, and Hartley is unable to play until his hearing.

"England hooker Dylan Hartley has been cited following the Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday for an alleged biting offence," a Six Nations statement read.

"The independent Six Nations citing commissioner for the match, Alberto Recaldini (Italy), cited the England player under IRB Law 10.4(m), "Acts contrary to good sportsmanship", for allegedly biting the finger of an opponent in the 23rd minute of the first-half.

"The player's hearing will be held by an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee at a date to be confirmed."

If Hartley is banned, he could be ruled out of England's three-Test tour to South Africa in June and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has already confirmed that no further comment will be made until the hearing is completed.

Hartley does not boast a clean sheet in terms of disciplinary action and was banned for 26 weeks in 2007 after being found guilty of gouging during a Premiership game.

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