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'He Is Not A Prick' - The Reaction To Dylan Hartley Being Banned For Just Six Weeks

'He Is Not A Prick' - The Reaction To Dylan Hartley Being Banned For Just Six Weeks
By PJ Browne Updated

Consensus on this side of the Irish sea following Dylan Hartley being given a six-week ban for striking Sean O'Brien was that the Northampton hooker had gotten off lightly. He will be back in action nearly two weeks prior to the Six Nations. Plenty of time, should Eddie Jones select him - and that's highly likely - to prime himself for France on February 4th.

Gordon D'Arcy's reaction was typical of the Irish point of view.

It's not just Irish commentators who believe the ban to be lenient. Sunday Times writer Stephen Jones wondered what length of ban a Samoan player would have received if he had a list of offences similar to the England captain.

Will Greenwood believes the softness of the suspension had nothing to do with Hartley being England captain.

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Speaking in a video on BT Sport's Rugby Tonight Twitter account, Brian O'Driscoll thought Hartley was lucky that the offence had not occurred in January when new World Rugby laws are introduced which would likely have meant a longer ban for the 30-year-old.

I'd imagine it would have been a stiffer ban rather than six weeks, I think he was a bit fortunate that he did it in December rather than January.

The Telegraph's Mick Cleary thinks that Hartley 'dodged a bullet' with his timing regarding the new laws. It's just a pity that Sean O'Brien could not dodge Hartley's forearm.

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Dylan Hartley has dodged a bullet. It could have been worse, much worse. World Rugby issued a harder-line directive on head-high tackles at the very same time as Hartley was in his hearing.

There is to be ‘zero tolerance.’ Go anywhere near the head, even if the opponent is ducking into the tackle, and you are in trouble. That is the future. Hartley’s transgression will be one of the last through the net. Six weeks is about right. But the England captain should breathe a sigh of relief on many fronts.

Teimana Harrison, a teammate of Hartley's with Northampton and England, has offered (via the Irish Examiner) a pretty weak - and debatable - defence of Hartley - 'He is not a prick'.

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I can’t speak for everyone. But from what I see is when he is winning Grand Slams, when he is making history away with England, everyone is: ‘Ah, Dylan is awesome. Dylan is great. You’re the man.'

Then he does one thing and he slips up, and everyone is like: ‘You’re a prick. You’re this, you’re that. You shouldn’t be playing.’

Whereas it shouldn’t be like that. He is not a prick, he didn’t mean to do that sort of stuff. I think it was unfortunate, I don’t think there was any bad intent in it.

It is easy to jump on his back. You look at his track record and it is not the best. Obviously, he has had a few run-ins with the judicial process.

I think he is quite an easy target; once he does something bad it will make headlines.

On BT's Rugby Tonight, Lawrence Dallaglio said that the ban was 'about right'.

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