Dylan Hartley demands 2025 British & Irish Lions call-up after Sexton ban
By Rugby Onslaught

Dylan Hartley demands 2025 British & Irish Lions call-up after Sexton ban

It is quite spooky that almost ten years to the day after Dylan Hartley was sent off in the Premiership final for calling referee Wayne Barnes a “f*****g cheat” that something very similar would be happening.

Those two words muttered under his breath at a scrum might well have cost his Northampton Saints side the Premiership title against bitter rivals Leicester Tigers. What it definitely did cost him was his place in the British & Irish Lions squad. Having just been selected for Warren Gatland’s Lions squad days before, an eleven week ban was handed to the England hooker meaning he was dropped from the squad.

Fast forward ten years, and it was another high profile match, the Heineken Champions Cup final, and another high profile player abusing the referee, this time Leinster and Ireland captain Johnny Sexton abusing referee Jaco Peyper. The only difference this time was Sexton was not even playing in the match.

Well now Sexton has only been handed a three match ban, meaning he can play for Ireland at the World Cup- Hartley is not happy at all. Experts at Rugby Onslaught are assuming the former England captain will lodge a formal complaint and even demand to be selected for the 2025 Lions tour to make up for the one he missed- that is despite being retired for a whole seven years when that tour comes around. But fair is fair, and if Hartley was forced to miss one of the greatest opportunities of his career it is only fair Sexton was handed the same punishment.

Hartley has looked back on the debacle in recent years, and clearly has a lot of regret. “I couldn’t believe what was happening,” he said. “It was Northampton’s first ever final in the Premiership. I let down not only the team but the town, and then personally I’d been to the Lions camp the week before and had all that kit.”