Dylan Hartley will learn on Wednesday if he will be available to lead England into the Six Nations after being sent off for the third time in his career.
Hartley will appear before an independent hearing to discover the length of the ban imposed for his stiff-arm tackle on Sean O’Brien in Northampton’s Champions Cup defeat by Leinster on Friday night.
O’Brien failed a head injury assessment after being struck from behind by the blow from England’s captain, who had only been on the pitch for six minutes as a second-half replacement.
Details of the charge Hartley faces have yet to be issued — the offence could fall under striking or dangerous tackle — but given his lengthy disciplinary record, a substantial ban is likely.
A suspension of eight weeks and above would rule him out of the Six Nations opener against France at Twickenham on February 4, resulting in the likely promotion of Owen Farrell to the captaincy.
The tackle has been widely condemned and has left England head coach Eddie Jones facing awkward questions having appointed Hartley as skipper despite a rap sheet that includes biting, gouging, butting and swearing at a referee.
In his defence, Hartley has led the national team with distinction throughout Jones’ reign and has been at the helm for a flawless first year comprising of 13 successive victories.
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Hartley to learn Six Nations fate on Wednesday
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