Coach Lancaster admits he thought ‘long and hard’ over Hartley England EPS selection

WALK OF SHAME - Dylan Hartley leaves the field after being sent off in the Aviva Premiership Grand Final at Twickenham in May (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

WALK OF SHAME - Dylan Hartley leaves the field after being sent off in the Aviva Premiership Grand Final at Twickenham in May (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

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Stuart Lancaster admits he had a ‘long, hard think’ about whether to include Dylan Hartley in his new England EPS squad.

The hooker is one of six Saints players taking their place in the 33-man party, with Alex Corbisiero, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Lee Dickson and Ben Foden also involved.

Hartley is currently serving an 11-week ban for his sending off during May’s Aviva Premiership final defeat to Leicester Tigers.

And Lancaster admits he spoke to the Saints star before naming him in his squad.

“I had a long, hard think about it and a long conversation with him, said the England boss.

“I wanted to be reassured he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong.

“He accepts that and he knows he needs a strong start to the season with Northampton as changes can be made with Rob Webber and David Paice pushing hard.”

Meanwhile, there were also three Saints players named in the England Saxons squad, with Calum Clark, Luther Burrell and Stephen Myler included.