Saints skipper Hartley concerned as he is sin-binned in Metro defeat

BENCHED - Saints skipper Dylan Hartley looks downhearted after being sin-binned on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
BENCHED - Saints skipper Dylan Hartley looks downhearted after being sin-binned on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
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Saints skipper Dylan Hartley feels there is a chance his previous offences are counting against him.

But the 28-year-old is prepared to deal with pre-conceptions as he bids to avoid enduring the wrath of referees.

Hartley was sin-binned during the first half of Saints’ defeat to Racing Metro on Saturday, with Nigel Owens penalising the England hooker for tackling from an offside position.

It was just the second game back for the captain, who had been hit with a three-week ban for elbowing Leicester’s Matt Smith in a game at Franklin’s Gardens on December 20.

And when asked whether referees are now judging him by reputation, Hartley, whose career bans total more than 50 weeks, replied: “Maybe. That’s my own doing and I’m the one who’s got to deal with it.”

And he added: “Just imagine being me. I thought I did everything I could to prepare for that game - I knew the spotlight would be on me.

“A player runs over me, I put my arms up and I tackle him and the next thing I know I’m watching the game.”