1 Nov 2008

Martin Johnson defends Dylan Hartley

12:30 pm on 1 November 2008

The English rugby team's manager Martin Johnson has insisted the uncapped hooker Dylan Hartley won't prove to be a disciplinary liability should the New Zealand-born front rower make a Test debut against the Pacific Islands.

The 22-year-old Hartley was banned for six months last year after an eye-gouging incident involving Wasps and England flanker James Haskell.

And the Northampton forward's temperament was again called into question during last Sunday's Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat against Saracens when he appeared to deliver a stiff-arm challenge on half-back Mosese Rauluni.

But Johnson says he wouldn't have Hartley in the squad if he thought he was a liability.