Dylan Hartley’s friends reacted to World Cup omission ‘almost like I died’

• Hooker talks of devastation at losing ‘ultimate send-off’
• ‘I wake up most nights thinking about it ... it’s just shit’

Dylan Hartley has said friends reacted to the news he had missed out on England’s Rugby World Cup squad almost as though he had died – and that he still wakes up most nights thinking about losing the chance to lead out Eddie Jones’ side in Japan.

The 33-year-old hooker, who has not played since injuring his left knee playing for Northampton in December, also revealed than an aggressive rehabilitation programme designed to get him on the plane to Tokyo left him in a physical and mental “hole” – but he has no plans to retire.

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