April 9, 2018 / 6:42 AM / 13 days ago

Concussion symptoms a concern for Hartley ahead of South Africa tour

(Reuters) - England captain Dylan Hartley has yet to come through return-to-play protocols after reporting concussion symptoms following the Six Nations game against Ireland last month, and his Northampton club coach is reluctant to put a timeframe on his return.

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England vs Ireland - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - March 17, 2018 England’s Dylan Hartley looks dejected at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

News of Hartley’s concussion issues will be a worry for England coach Eddie Jones, who will be keen to have the hooker available for a three-test series against South Africa in June.

“Dylan reported concussion symptoms after the Ireland game so it’s one of those – he’ll go through the return-to-play protocols,” Saints coach Alan Dickens told reporters.

“In terms of the focus on concussion now, it’s a concern for all the players. That’s why they’re so stringent in terms of the process to return to play. We’ll do what’s right by Dylan.”

Hartley, who has missed Northampton’s last two matches, was sidelined for a significant spell two years ago due to head injuries and feared for his career.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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