Saints skipper Hartley set to auction off unused Lions kit

Dylan Hartley
Dylan Hartley

Saints skipper Dylan Hartley is considering auctioning his British and Irish Lions kit for charity after missing the summer tour to Australia through suspension.

Hartley was sent off and banned for 11 weeks for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes during Northampton’s 37-17 defeat by Leicester in the Aviva Premiership final last season.

It meant the England hooker was unable to participate in the Lions’ series triumph Down Under, but he insists viewing Saints’ final defeat was the most painful aspect of his dismissal at Twickenham.

“I did not have to pack all my bags for the Lions because that had already been done for me,” he said.

“I was sent my Lions kit the other day and I don’t know what to do with it - maybe I’ll auction it in the paper.

“I was more upset about the team and the loss in the final because that affected other people. The Lions ultimately affected me.”

Hartley has been included in England’s latest elite player squad by head coach Stuart Lancaster, but knows patience will run out if he faces the disciplinary authorities once more.

Added to previous biting, gouging and punching offences, the latest suspension means Hartley has now been banned for a total of 45 weeks.

“I don’t need a sports psychologist, but my approach to dealing with referees has to change,” he said at the Aviva Premiership launch at Twickenham.

“I can understand how the incident was interpreted. I did say what I said, but I stand by what I said in that I know who I was talking to or about (Hartley claims his words were not directed at Barnes).

“I’ve heard much worse in the front row. In terms of how it was interpreted I have to look at that and understand how it got to that point.

“I sat down with Stuart and we had a chat. I

“t wasn’t about him telling me, but I understand that he can’t keep giving me a chance.

“People can’t keep giving me a chance and I’m basically on my last chance in the England set-up. That’s fully understood.”