Hartley to miss Tigers semi-final
May 14, 2014
Dylan Hartley is back in training but will not play against Leicester © Getty Images
Northampton Saints will be without hooker Dylan Hartley for their Aviva Premiership semi-final against Leicester on Friday evening.
Hartley has been out of action since March after fracturing his shoulder against the Tigers but was reportedly in the frame for Friday's game. But with the England tour to New Zealand on the horizon, Hartley has been warned against rushing his comeback from injury.
"I was hoping to play this week so my comeback is a matter of days," Hartley told the Guardian. "There is no point in coming back too early with big games hopefully ahead. We have booked one final and we will know this weekend whether we have another one. Further down the line is the England tour.
"I am progressing day by day. The medics said six to eight weeks when I suffered the injury and we are at six weeks, which is why I always said I was going to try to play this week. The decision about when I do play will be clear-cut and it involves the club and England: it is not a case of one side telling me to play and the other not to. There is a risk that if I come back too soon I could dislocate the shoulder making my first tackle and I still have to take contact on it."
Stuart Lancaster will be monitoring Hartley's return closely with England facing a growing crisis at hooker. Tom Youngs will miss the tour to New Zealand due to personal reasons while Rob Webber and David Paice are both injury doubts.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league