Moody: Hartley can beat 'red mist'
ESPN Staff
January 24, 2015
Dylan Hartley was suspended for three weeks for his elbow on Matt Smith © Getty Images

Ex-England captain Lewis Moody has revealed Dylan Hartley has turned to a sports psychologist in an attempt to curb the temper that has jeopardised his England future.

Moody has tipped Hartley to beat the "red mist" disciplinary problems that have blighted his Test career. Hartley's red card and three-match ban for elbowing Matt Smith against Leicester in December took his career suspensions to 50 weeks, adding to lay-offs for eye-gouging, biting, punching and swearing.

Moody cites psychology sessions in 2005 for cementing his international career following his red card for brawling with Alesana Tuilagi in England's 40-3 victory over Samoa.

"I know Dylan has been seeing a psychologist, I did the same in 2005 and it worked wonders for me," Moody told Press Association Sport. "When you find the red mist descending, you distract yourself. How do you do that? For me, I ensured my first move in future would be to look at the referee, because my next action would be decided by him.

"That simple process made sure that I never had another yellow or red card in my career, post-2005. The worrying thing for me is that Dylan still keeps having these moments of red mist, and that will mean that teams will pick on him more and more."

World Cup winner Moody, nicknamed "Mad Dog" for his frenzied playing style, admitted he had to beat initial scepticism before benefiting from psychology in his own career. The former Leicester and Bath flanker hopes Hartley's decision to seek outside help is a positive move forward in the gritty hooker's bid to curb his disciplinary wrangles.

"There is a concern over his temperament in games, but that said, Dylan is a very physical, competitive, combative forward who you always want in your team," Moody said. "It's just at what point does Stuart say, 'right, your behaviour is now costing the team'. It is frustrating to watch and I'm sure it's frustrating to him that it keeps happening, so there's got to be a way for him to deal with his emotion and to be able to control it.

"I'd hate for him to have any more incidents or his England career to be stopped short because of something he does. I know Stuart Lancaster and the squad have been working very hard with him, and that he takes it very seriously."

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