Hartley hit with ban for Best clash

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Northampton captain Dylan Hartley has received a two-week ban after being cited for foul play in a Heineken Cup game.

The England international hooker was reported for hitting opposite number Rory Best withnhis arm in last Friday’s Pool 4 encounter at Franklin’s Gardens. Hartley will miss tomorrow’s Ulster return fixture in Belfast, plus Northampton’s Aviva Premiership appointment at home to Harlequins on 22 December. In a statement, European Rugby Cup said Hartley pleaded guilty to the offence.

Hartley, 26, recently returned to action after missing England’s entire autumn Test series through injury. Leicester’s Tom Youngs impressed as the starting hooker in his absence. New Zealand-born Hartley has a chequered disciplinary history. He received a 26-week ban in 2007 after being found guilty of gouging two Wasps players in a Premiership match, and earlier this year he was cited for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris during a Six Nations game that saw him land an eight-week