Stuart Lancaster: I will speak to Dylan Hartley over discipline

England hooker Dylan Hartley
Dylan Hartley has won 61 caps for England since making his debut in 2008

England head coach Stuart Lancaster plans to speak to Dylan Hartley about his discipline.

Hartley, 28, was suspended for three weeks after elbowing Leicester's Matt Smith during Northampton's 23-19 Premiership victory on 20 December.

It is the fifth time the hooker has been banned in his career.

"He will have been disappointed in himself to put himself in that position," said Lancaster. "I will have a conversation with him."

Hartley is likely to be a key member of England's World Cup squad and Lancaster said he would talk to the player before the Six Nations.

England return to action in February as their preparations for the World Cup continue after mixed results in the Autumn internationals.

England beat Samoa and Australia but lost to New Zealand and South Africa in November.

Lancaster says the All Blacks are favourites for the World Cup but believes several teams have a realistic chance of lifting the trophy at Twickenham on 31 October 2015.

Bath centre Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess has played in three Premiership matches since joining Bath from South Sydney

"The real strength of this World Cup in 2015 is the vast number of teams that can potentially win it," he said.

"New Zealand are number one in the world and quite rightly so but if you look across the board there are six, seven or eight teams that have the potential to win. That's what makes it such an exciting tournament this time round."

Meanwhile, Lancaster said Sam Burgess has time to force his way into the England set-up after switching codes from rugby league in October.

The 26-year-old moved to Premiership side Bath from NRL outfit South Sydney and has has played at centre and at blindside flanker for his new club.

Lancaster said: "We have two more Premiership games and two rounds of Europe to go before we name the squads.

"He has made a tremendous start in the sport. He is doing really well. We need to give him time."

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