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'I'm disappointed for the team' - Mallinder expects ban for Hartley after red card

The England captain swung an arm recklessly into Sean O’Brien’s exposed head.

Murray Kinsella reports from Franklin’s Gardens

NORTHAMPTON DIRECTOR OF rugby Jim Mallinder expects hooker Dylan Hartley to be banned after his red card for a swinging arm to the back of Sean O’Brien’s head in the second half of Leinster’s 37-10 win in Franklin’s Gardens.

Dylan Hartley leaves the field after being red carded Hartley leaves the field after being red carded. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The England captain lasted only six minutes from the time he was brought off the Saints’ bench in the second half, with Leinster going on to secure a bonus-point victory after referee Jerome Garces sent Hartley off for his mindless act of violence.

Speaking after the game at Franklin’s Gardens, a visibly deflated Mallinder was in no doubt about the decision.

“It’s a strike to the head. We’ve seen enough of them over the last few weeks,” said Mallinder. “I think it was a red card.”

Hartley’s red came just after the Saints had fallen 20-10 behind to Leinster following Sean O’Brien’s try, and Mallinder stated that he didn’t believe it was the deciding of the game.

I wouldn’t say it cost us the game, I think we started badly and came back into the game pretty well,” said Mallinder.

“We had just conceded a try actually, we were already a few points down. But I think when you go down to 14 men against such a quality side as Leinster then you’re always going to be up against it.”

He’ll get a decent ban for the offence?

“Yeah, I think so,” replied Mallinder.

Dylan Hartley leaves the field after being red carded Hartley was back in the stands six minutes after being brought on. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Hartley has a chequered disciplinary past and was a controversial choice as England captain at the start of Eddie Jones’ tenure. The England head coach was present at Franklin’s Gardens and was seen putting his head in his hands after Hartley’s red card.

The hooker had enjoyed an incident-free 2016 and been praised for turning around his temperament since being appointed as England captain, but this was the old, thuggish Hartley.

Certainly, he’s been playing really well and leading England by example, so it was disappointing that on returning from England after doing such a job that that happens,” said Mallinder.

Finally, asked if he was personally disappointed with Hartley for his red card, Mallinder said it was a collective frustration.

“I’m disappointed for the team. When you play a team like Leinster you want all your best players playing and you need fifteen players on the field.”

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Murray Kinsella

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