Hartley cited for biting
England hooker to face hearing after alleged incident against Ireland
Last Updated: 20/03/12 9:48am
Dylan Hartley: Has been cited for alleged biting against Ireland
England hooker Dylan Hartley has been cited for allegedly biting the finger of an opponent during Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland.
Hartley, who could face a maximum ban of four years, will face a disciplinary hearing following the first-half incident at Twickenham.
Six Nations organisers announced Northampton player Hartley had been reported by match commissioner Alberto Recaldini.
It is thought that Hartley is alleged to have bitten the finger of Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris in the 23rd minute of the match.
In a statement, the Six Nations said: "England hooker Dylan Hartley has been cited following the RBS 6 Nations match between England and Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday for an alleged biting offence.
"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."
The Rugby Football Union issued a brief statement that read: "The England management have been formally notified about the citing of Dylan Hartley and will not be making any comment until the resolution of the disciplinary hearing."
A biting offence carries a low end entry point of a 12-week suspension, with 18 weeks for mid-range and 24-plus weeks at the top end in the International Rugby Board's disciplinary sanctions table. The maximum sanction is a four-year ban.
Referee Nigel Owens did not see the alleged incident but was made aware of it and confirmed to both captains that it would be looked into after the match.
If Hartley is banned, he could be ruled out of England's three-Test tour to South Africa in June.
The 25-year-old, who has won 39 caps for England, served a 26-week ban in 2007 after being found guilty of making contact with the eye areas of Wasps players James Haskell and Joe Worsley.