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Dylan Hartley facing potential ban after alleged headbutt against Saracens

29. Although you probably didn't mean the question literally - definitely old enough to know better.

I don't think Lancaster will lose too much sleep over his inevitable decision to drop him. Seems a shame for a relatively minor incident, but with other England-qualified hookers available and some in better form than Hartley, he just doesn't need to accommodate such a high-risk player.

(See my conspiracy theory post further down the page for how Lancaster has in fact engineered this and the Tuilagi incident in a bizarre plot to facilitate his selection process and enhance his own reputation).

1 Month, 6 Days ago

Dylan Hartley facing potential ban after alleged headbutt against Saracens


Conspiracy theory:

Lancaster didn't think Tuilagi was going to firing ion all cylinders in time for the World Cup. He has arguably fashioned a more complete and more competent midfield in Tuilagi's absence, which might be disrupted by his return. He also knew that dropping him might be unpopular with the fans.

So he paid a taxi driver to create a bit of argy-bargy and goad him into a minor altercation which, with the help of a couple of willing coppers and reporters, could be exaggerated into something seemingly bigger. Dropping Tuilagi then became a no-brainer and had the added bonus of cementing Bomber's reputation as a no-nonsense disciplinarian.

Hartley has been a pain in the arse for Lancaster and a potential banana-skin vis-a-vis his authoritative schoolmaster persona. He's also not been in tremendous form over the past few months whereas others - Youngs, George, Cowan-double-barrel, Webber et al have been showing promise. Rather than simply dropping him, Bomber sensed an opportunity to further enhance his old rules-enforcer act.

"Jamie", he said, passing a picture across the table of an England shirt hanging on a hook in the Twickenham dressing room with George written above it. "Get under his skin all game, wind him up, he's bound to retaliate. Then I'll have no choice but to drop him. And you know what that means..." Lancaster paused and took a long sip of his grapefruit juice. "Don't worry if Hartley doesn't really get violent or if the ref doesn't actually punish him in the game. You just focus on getting a rise out of him. I'll sort the rest".

And there you have it. Two selection headaches eliminated. Lancaster's reputation enhanced. And didn't even need help from the illuminati.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Dylan Hartley facing potential ban after alleged headbutt against Saracens

It's four weeks.

Takes him to 54 weeks in total. Pretty impressive tally, you have to admit.

Those calling him stupid may like to note that no two offences have been the same, so he is in fact clearly learning his lessons...

https://twitter.com/skysportsnewshq/status/603680842469236736

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Dylan Hartley facing potential ban after alleged headbutt against Saracens

Ironically (or perhaps counter-intuitively would be a better word), I think when he isn't scrapping his rugby seems to suffer. Maybe some players just need that sense of anger so they have something to channel into their game.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonny May starts and finishes brilliant length of the field try against Connacht

Shit! Did you see that!? That was liquid rugby!

But yeah, doesn't get involved enough, has made a couple of defensive howlers and even a lot of his attacking play for England has been very predictable - I've only seen him really back himself once. Most other times he seems to hesitate before telegraphing a step infield - that Esposito off Italy worked out that move to beautiful effect (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw6OoKStPhg).

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonny May starts and finishes brilliant length of the field try against Connacht

Lovely stuff. Not my words, but those of Shakin Stevens... *

Frustrating player, May. Frankly I think to date he's been awful in an England shirt, yet he's capable of pulling awesomeness like this out of the bag. And, lest we forget, he's done it against the best team in the world.

So if you're Stuart Lancaster, do you include him just in case he delivers such a moment of brilliance at a similarly crucial moment? Or go with someone more reliable?



* Wondering if anyone is of the right comedy vintage to get that obscure reference...

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Friday Funnies - Henry Seniloli's premature showboating costs Treviso a try

A beauty. Available on the related videos above, by the way - http://www.rugbydump.com/2008/01/298/friday-funnies-deon-kayser-chases-down-robbie-fleck

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Friday Funnies - Henry Seniloli's premature showboating costs Treviso a try

Ha! Nice one.

Actually your Fleck video is more enjoyable, as Fleck was always so easy to dislike so it's easier to take pleasure in his misfortune!

I've always been quite a fan of Carling. Having said that, apparently many of his contemporaries didn't quite feel the same way - I heard one story that he once got a good shoeing at a ruck (when rucking was still allowed), got up and started moaning at the ref, demanding "did you see who did that?" - before the ref could answer one of Carling's own team-mates said "it could have been any of 29 blokes to be fair".

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Friday Funnies - Henry Seniloli's premature showboating costs Treviso a try

DrG - your choice of video was almost prescient as it would be better suited to the Skelton/Latu incident!

It's interesting for me because I find myself mildly outraged by the Skelton/Latu one, but I remember watching this (Thorn) one at the time and my only reaction, other than laughing, was to think how impressive it was that he could so casually lift and chuck about a bloke of Smit's weight...

Clearly the application of the laws has changed - in 2008 just a penalty "reversal" (that was already going SA's way anyway...); in 2015 retrospective red cards and 2-4 week bans. But I find my attitude towards these incidents has also shifted the same way - if Thorn got away with a penalty for that now I'd be very surprised indeed. Maybe I've been eating too much cous-cous.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Waratahs Will Skelton and Tolu Latu both suspended for double lifting tackle

"it would have ruined the game as a spectacle" should never be a factor in a ref's decision-making process in my opinion.

We see this all the time in football, where a ref reaches for a second yellow card and then decides against it. Undermines all credibility and authority.

1 Month, 1 Week ago