Hart­ley red-carded af­ter six min­utes

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Eng­land cap­tain Dy­lan Hart­ley was red-carded af­ter just six min­utes on the pitch as his Northamp­ton Saints slumped to a 37-10 de­feat to Le­in­ster in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Cup on Fri­day.

Hart­ley, who had started on the bench fol­low­ing au­tumn international duty, re­placed Mikey Hay­wood af­ter 50 min­utes for his 50th ap­pear­ance in the tour­na­ment.

How­ever, just six min­utes later, the 30year-old hooker was head­ing off in dis­grace for aim­ing a wild punch at the head of Le­in­ster flanker Sean O’Brien. As well as help­ing to con­demn 2000 cham­pi­ons Northamp­ton to a sec­ond de­feat in three games in Pool 4 and al­low Le­in­ster ce­ment top spot, the in­ci­dent could dent Hart­ley’s hopes of cap­tain­ing the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions in New Zealand next year.

Northamp­ton ended the game with 13 men when re­place­ment for­ward Ge­orge Pisi was yel­low-carded for a high tackle.

“It’s hap­pen­ing too much,” said Saints di­rec­tor of rugby Jim Mallinder of his team’s woe­ful dis­ci­plinary record. “The play­ers don’t do it on pur­pose but you have to be so care­ful now. We have spo­ken about it over the last few weeks and we have had our dis­ci­plinary is­sues and it con­tin­ues to haunt us.”

Le­in­ster’s new Ir­ish star Garry Rin­grose scored the only try of the first half af­ter just two min­utes when he sprinted clear fol­low­ing a clever shimmy and dummy from full­back Rob Kear­ney.

Skip­per and winger Isa Nacewa popped over the con­ver­sion for 7-0 which soon be­came 10-0 for the three-time cham­pi­ons when the 34-year-old New Zealan­der kicked a penalty.

METRO­NOMIC BOOT

Northamp­ton’s only points of the first pe­riod came via a 20th-minute penalty from the metro­nomic boot of Stephen Myler. Northamp­ton were level at 10-10 in the 45th minute thanks to a try from Samoan winger Ah­see Tuala who fin­ished off a move in­spired by for­mer Mun­ster cen­tre JJ Han­ra­han.

Myler added the ex­tras be­fore Nacewa hit a mon­ster penalty to re­store Le­in­ster’s lead at 13-10.

That sig­nalled the en­trance of Hart­ley but he and his fel­low for­wards were soon over-pow­ered when O’Brien was barged over the try line thanks to the sup­port­ing mus­cle of No8 Jamie Heaslip.

Nacewa again hit the ex­tras for 20-10 be­fore Hart­ley’s brief ap­pear­ance came to an end for his right-handed hay­maker at the head of O’Brien.

Ref­eree Jerome Garces had no hes­i­ta­tion in reach­ing for the red card as Hart­ley trot­ted off much to the dis­may of watch­ing Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones.

Le­in­ster scored a third try when debu­tant Rory O’Lough­lin out­jumped an inat­ten­tive Ben Fo­den to dot down a clever cross­field kick from Ross Byrne.

Nacewa missed the ex­tras but Le­in­ster soon made their one-man ad­van­tage count when Jami­son Gib­son-Park skipped through a weary Northamp­ton de­fence for a 32-10 lead and a bonus point. Nacewa added the fifth try in the last minute.

On Saturday, de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Sara­cens will seek to make it 12 straight wins in Europe when they take on English Premiership ri­vals Sale in Pool 3.

Sara­cens have not lost in Europe since they were beaten 13-9 by Cler­mont in the 2015 semi-fi­nal. The other game in Pool 3 pitches Scar­lets against Toulon.

Other top match-ups see Le­ices­ter, in Pool 1, face Mun­ster in a re-run of the 2002 fi­nal. Top 14 lead­ers Cler­mont head to Belfast to face Ul­ster in Pool 5 while Toulouse will be seek­ing their first vic­tory in Pool 2, away at Ital­ians Ze­bre. —AFP

PARIS: Eng­land cap­tain Dy­lan Hart­ley was sent off just six min­utes af­ter com­ing on as a sub­sti­tute.

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