Banned Hartley receives Robshaw backing


England captain Dylan Hartley has the full support of his international team-mates after picking up a six-week ban, according to Chris Robshaw.

Hartley found himself in hot water during Northampton Saints' European Champions Cup clash with Leinster, striking Sean O'Brien and earning a red card just six minutes after coming on as a replacement.

Northampton ultimately suffered a resounding 37-10 defeat at Franklin's Gardens and club director Jim Mallinder accused Hartley of letting the team down as the hooker was hit with a lengthy ban, although he will be available for the Six Nations.

But at international level he will find no such judgement, with Robshaw insisting Hartley has the team's backing.

"We should respect Dylan and give him some space now," flanker Robshaw told reporters. "Dylan has been absolutely fantastic since he has come into the role.

"Previously when I was captain he was always one of those guys who was very supportive.

"Now he has taken over he has led from the front. He has been instrumental in what we have done. He's bred that confidence within the side and given the team a good edge.

"A lot of our success is down to him. We are fully behind him."