Dylan Hartley not a doubt for England, say Northampton Saints

Dylan Hartley
Dylan Hartley has been capped 57 times by England

England hooker Dylan Hartley's back injury is not serious, according to Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder.

Hartley, 28, missed the Premiership win over London Irish on Saturday, but is not expected to be a doubt for the autumn internationals.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster is already without hooker Tom Youngs.

"He's got a sore back - he did it passing the ball from the base of the scrum, so it wasn't a contact injury," Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton.

"Sometimes it is a bit frustrating, those things, and they take a bit of time. He trained Tuesday and he did it Wednesday morning."

England 2014 autumn international dates
8 Nov: England v New Zealand
15 Nov: England v South Africa
22 Nov: England v Samoa
29 Nov: England v Australia

Hartley would be England's first-choice hooker for fixtures against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia next month in the absence of Youngs, who is ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Lancaster will name his Elite Player Squad for the games on 22 October.

Saints director of rugby Mallinder expects Hartley and international team-mate Tom Wood, who also has a back problem, to be in contention to face Sale next week.

He is also confident about the fitness of fly-half Lee Dickson following his early withdrawal against Irish.

"It's towards his back. He didn't quite know how he got it. It's a bit sore but he's smiling and positive in there," Mallinder added.

Top Stories