World Rugby to monitor player discipline before World Cup

Dylan Hartley
Dylan Hartley (left) has been replaced in the England World Cup training squad by Jamie George

World Rugby is monitoring recent disciplinary cases in Ireland and France before this year's World Cup.

England dropped Dylan Hartley after he was cited and banned for four weeks for headbutting Saracens' Jamie George.

Ireland's Jack McGrath and Ian Madigan and France's Yoann Huget have all escaped citings for recent incidents.

However, the sport's governing body told BBC Sport: "World Rugby is keeping an interested eye on the application of the disciplinary process."

Prop McGrath was sin-binned for kneeing Barbarians player Konstantin Mikautadze in the back, while fellow Leinster and Ireland team-mate Madigan avoided censure for a potential stamping offence in the 22-21 defeat by the Barbarians in Limerick.

And France full-back Huget has not been cited for an apparent stamp in Toulouse's Top 14 match with Bordeaux.

Owen Farrell and Anthony Watson
Owen Farrell apologised to England team-mate Anthony Watson on the field at Twickenham

Any ban for the players could affect their involvement in the upcoming World Cup.

Northampton hooker Hartley was dropped from the England training squad by head coach Stuart Lancaster following the ban by an RFU disciplinary panel. He would have been ineligible for the warm-up matches and the first match of the 2015 World Cup in any case.

England fly-half Owen Farrell will be available after receiving a citing commissioner warning for a high tackle during Saracens' Premiership final victory over Bath on Saturday. The warning represents a retrospective yellow card, with three warnings amounting to a disciplinary hearing.

The World Cup starts on September 18 as England play Fiji at Twickenham.

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