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England captain Hartley ready for return

22 August 2018 00:23

England captain Dylan Hartley is ready to return to action after five months out due to concussion.

The hooker took a break from the game after suffering a third concussion in his career during the Six Nations clash with Ireland in March, meaning he missed England’s tour to South Africa.

However, the 32-year-old is in line to play for Northampton Saints against Glasgow in a pre-season fixture on Friday, as the English club prepare for the start of the new Premiership campaign.

After accepting he needed to step away from rugby to aid his recovery, Hartley is now keen to feature in Northampton’s league opener against Gloucester on September 1.

"I sought good advice and I trusted what they said," said Hartley. "I had no concerns. I surrounded myself with the right advice and here I am, ready to play.

"At the time, [sitting out] was disappointing because you want to be involved in everything. You don't want to miss games.

"But once the decision had been made for me and we agreed on it, I had made peace with that.

"As soon as I took my foot off the gas and stopped trying to make it back every week, which I was trying to do, I felt myself instantly get better. Removing those kind of pressures has worked.

"I have had a good pre-season with the team and I am in a good place to compete for a spot in the next fortnight."

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