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Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley has been banned for two weeks for striking Ulster's Rory Best

Last Updated: 13/12/12 6:12pm

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Dylan Hartley has been suspended for two weeks for striking Rory Best

Dylan Hartley has been suspended for two weeks for striking Rory Best

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Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley has been banned for two weeks for striking Ulster counterpart Rory Best.

The 26-year-old tangled with Ireland international Best during the clash between Saints and Ulster at Franklin's Gardens on Friday, 7 December, which the Irish visitors won 25-6.

French citing commissioner Jean-Claude Legendre made the complaint after the game, and Hartley pleaded guilty to an independent Disciplinary Hearing led by Roger Morris on Thursday.

An ERC media release read: "The Judicial Officer upheld the citing and employing the IRB 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."

As a result of the decision, the New Zealand-born star will miss Saturday's return fixture with Ulster in Belfast and Northampton's Aviva Premiership home game against Harlequins on 22 December.

Hartley, who will be free to play again from Christmas Eve, is no stranger to disciplinary issues having been suspended for a massive 26 weeks in 2007 when found guilty of eye-gouging.

In March of this year, he incurred another eight-week ban for biting flanker Stephen Ferris during England's Six Nations clash with Ireland.

The ERC also banned Cardiff's Lloyd Williams for five weeks for a tip tackle against Montpellier, while Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Jevon Groves was suspended for two weeks for a dangerous tackle.

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