British & Irish Lions
'Dylan has made an unfortunate error'
ESPN Staff
May 27, 2013
Referee Wayne Barnes shows Dylan Hartley a red card, Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints, Aviva Premiership Final, Twickenham, May 25, 2013
Referee Wayne Barnes shows Dylan Hartley a red card during Saturday's Premiership final © PA Photos

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has revealed that Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley is unlikely to appeal the 11-week ban that ended his tour before it had begun.

Hartley was hit with the hefty suspension after being found guilty of calling referee Wayne Barnes a "f****** cheat during the Saints' defeat to Leicester in Saturday's Premiership final. The Lions have since added Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best to their squad but refused to discount Hartley completely with a possible appeal offering him a lifeline.

However, Gatland does not expect Hartley to contest the ruling. "It's my understanding that he won't be appealing the decision, but that's entirely up to him. He may decide to do that in the next day or so."

He added: "Dylan's a young man who has made an unfortunate error. To play the game you have to play on the edge, but unfortunately he's gone to the edge of the cliff and jumped off it. That's the only analogy I can draw.

"I called him yesterday and left a message on his phone. He left a message on my phone today thanking me for the call. I was looking forward to working with him and really feel for him. He's made a poor judgement. Hopefully he can put this behind him and move on.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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