England Captain Dylan Hartley’s Rugby Future In Doubt


England captain Dylan Hartley’s rugby future is in doubt, after the hooker picked up yet another concussion in the 24-15 Six Nations loss to Ireland last month.

Hartley hasn’t played since that loss, with Northampton refusing to put a time-frame on his return to rugby. The 32-year-old has a history of concussion-related injuries, and two years ago said he feared his career would be over if he suffered another head blow.

He has previously admitted that he did not remember lifting the Six Nations trophy in 2016, after being concussed in the win over France.

“Dylan reported concussion symptoms after the Ireland game so it is one of those where he will go through the return to play protocols as everyone else does,” Northampton interim head coach Alan Dickens said.

“In terms of the focus on the concussion now, it is a concern for all the players and that’s why they are so stringent in terms of the return to play. We will do what’s right for Dylan.

“They start (the process) every week. He’s had the week off where we didn’t play after the Irish game. He is going through that process.”

In the 2015-16 season, Hartley missed six weeks after a collision withBilly Vunipola, before being knocked unconscious tackling Uini Atonio in the final Six Nations match against France, which restricted him to just 16 minutes of game time for Northampton in the remainder of the campaign.

Speaking after that second concussion, Hartley said that another such injury could cause him to re-evaluate his options.

“If I got another one now, I would be worried,” Hartley said.

“I would probably start looking at other careers or stuff like that, or maybe a long lay-off.”

All things considered, you would imagine Hartley will be excused from England’s tour of South Africa this summer at the very least. As for his future in rugby as a whole, another concussion is hugely worrying and could put his future in serious doubt.