Northampton vow to defend Dylan Hartley from goading

• Dylan Hartley returns from ban to face Ospreys on Sunday
• Northampton’s Phil Dowson says opponents will seek to goad hooker
Dylan Hartley banned for three weeks for elbow offence

Dylan Hartley returns to lead Northampton at Ospreys on Sunday following his suspension with team-mates vowing to step in quickly if they see opponents trying to goad the England hooker.

Hartley was sent off against Leicester last month after reacting to being held off the ball by elbowing Matt Smith in the face. He received a three-week ban, which was seven days more than it would have been had his disciplinary record been good. He has been banned for a total of 47 weeks in his career and while he is expected to be named in England’s squad next week, he has twice been warned about his conduct by Stuart Lancaster.

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