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On this day in 2013: Northampton’s Dylan Hartley sent off in Premiership final

Dylan Hartley was sent off in the 2013 Premiership final (Clive Gee/PA)
Dylan Hartley was sent off in the 2013 Premiership final (Clive Gee/PA)

Dylan Hartley missed the subsequent British and Irish Lions tour through suspension after becoming the first player to be sent off in a Premiership final, on this day in 2013.

The Northampton captain was dismissed for allegedly calling referee Wayne Barnes a “f****** cheat” shortly before the interval during his side’s 37-17 defeat to Leicester at Twickenham.

Hartley has always maintained his volley of abuse, which followed earlier warnings from the match official, was not directed at Barnes but he was hit with an 11-week ban.

Dylan Hartley was no stranger to a red card during his career
Dylan Hartley was no stranger to a red card during his career (Joe Giddens/PA)

He had been due to travel with the Lions to Hong Kong two days later, ahead of their three-match series in Australia.

Ireland’s Rory Best took his place in Warren Gatland’s tour squad.

Hartley’s history of disciplinary problems was well known and he lost his cool after Leicester pushed too early in the scrum.

The England hooker insisted – via Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder – that his comments were aimed at Tigers hooker Tom Youngs.

Dylan Hartley twice captained England to Six Nations glory but never played for the Lions
Dylan Hartley twice captained England to Six Nations glory but never played for the Lions (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Speaking about the incident two years later, he said: “I felt like a pariah and I cemented a reputation that I am resigned to never losing.

“I do not think anything worse can happen to me in rugby.”

New Zealand-born Hartley twice captained England to Six Nations glory but was not selected for the Lions tour of his homeland in 2017 and retired in 2019.