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Northampton release Hartley statement

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Northampton address Dylan Hartley's ongoing battle with concussion in statement

Northampton have given an injury update on Dylan Hartley. The hooker has not played since he was concussed in the 24-15 Natwest 6 Nations defeat to Ireland on March 17th.

The Premiership club has confirmed he will miss the rest of the season as well as England’s tour to South Africa because of concussion.

Following specialist medical advice, Hartley will take an extended period of rest over the summer with a view to start Saints’ pre-season training.

“I’m very disappointed that I will not be available for selection for Saints’ remaining Premiership games, as well England’s tour to South Africa,” said Hartley.

“It has been recommended by specialists that I take a break this summer and while I find that decision hard to accept, it’s important I listen to that advice.

“I intend to use this time to recover fully from my injury, so I can be ready to hit the ground running when pre-season training starts later this summer.”

It’s not the first time that Hartley has suffered concussion problems, he suffered a series of head knocks two years ago, which prompted an extended absence.

The 32-year-old, who has 93 caps to his name, had been due lead England’s three-match tour to South Africa in June, with the first Test taking place in Johannesburg on June 9th.

It will open the door for British and Irish Lions hooker Jamie George to stake his claim for the England number two jersey.

Speaking to RugbyPass before the Ireland game, Hartley said he wasn’t bothered by critics who suggested he should be replaced as the first choice for Eddie Jones’ side.

“If opinion, publicists and writers and column-fillers had their way I’d probably have retired a long time ago, but I am not even quietly motivated, I am openly motivated to keep pushing on, to keep getting better, to keep playing and that’s all I do.”

“(playing) for England – the ultimate goal is the Rugby World Cup yeah – but for my career I don’t know, keep going. I feel bloody good at the moment, I trained well yesterday, so I just have to play well this week.”

Continue reading below…

Video: Dylan Hartley speaks to RugbyPass before the Six Nations game with Ireland

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Eddie Jones is due to name his England squad for the summer tour in less than three weeks time.

Hartley has been almost ever-present since being appointed as captain by Jones when he took over from Stuart Lancaster.

He started in four of England five matches during this season’s Six Nations, missing out on the France game because of a calf injury.

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Northampton address Dylan Hartley's ongoing battle with concussion in statement