Foul-mouthed comment sees England star miss Lions

England hooker Dylan Hartley lost his place on the British and Irish Lions tour when he was sent off in the Premier League final on this day in 2013.

The Northampton captain received a red card for dissent shortly before half-time in his side's 37-17 defeat to Leicester in the climax of the domestic season at Twickenham.

Hartley allegedly called referee Wayne Barnes a “cheater” and was subsequently banned for 11 weeks.

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Hartley insisted his torrent of abuse was not directed at the referee, but rather at Leicester hooker Tom Youngs. However, Barnes had warned him about his language just two minutes earlier.

He did not contest his punishment and bowed out of the Lions' 10-match tour of Hong Kong and Australia, for which the team bowed out after just two days.

Rory Best was called in as Hartley's replacement by coach Warren Gatland.

Speaking about the incident years later, Hartley admitted he felt he had let his colleagues and himself down.

“I couldn't believe what was happening,” he said.

“This was Northampton's first ever Premier League final. Not only did I let the team down, I let the city down as well, and then I personally went to the Lions camp the week before and got all this equipment.

Hartley earned another chance in the Premier League final the following year and was on the winning side as the Saints beat Saracens in extra time.

He led England to Six Nations glory twice but there were no more chances for the Lions as he was overlooked for the 2017 tour of New Zealand. He retired in 2019.


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