England captain Dylan Hartley is set to miss his nation's tour of South Africa due to a concussion. The 32-year-old hooker sustained the injury during the last match of this year's Six Nations, a defeat to Ireland.
Hartley is yet to make an appearance for his domestic side, Northampton Saints, and the club have now confirmed that the English stalwart will miss the rest of the season in the following statement.
The statement read: “Northampton Saints today confirm that club captain Dylan Hartley will miss the remainder of the season as well as England’s tour to South Africa due to a concussion.
“Hartley sustained the injury in England’s NatWest 6 Nations match against Ireland last month and has not played for the club since.
“Following specialist medical advice, Hartley will take an extended period of rest over the summer with a view to start Saints’ pre-season training.”
The England skipper could not hide his frustration at being unable to help Eddie Jones' side to recover from such a disappointing Six Nations campaign.
“I’m very disappointed that I will not be available for selection for Saints’ remaining Premiership games, as well England’s tour to South Africa," he added in the statement.
“It has been recommended by specialists that I take a break this summer and while I find that decision hard to accept, it’s important I listen to that advice.
“I intend to use this time to recover fully from my injury, so I can be ready to hit the ground running when pre-season training starts later this summer.”
An ever-steadying presence for Jones, he will surely be missed as England take on the Springboks in three matches in Johanessburg beginning June 9.
Hartley is set to be replaced by Saracens' Jamie George, who will look to solidify his candidacy as England's main hooker.
Jones already has a lengthy injury list to contend with, including Anthony Watson (Achilles) and centre Jonathan Joseph, who requires surgery on his left foot.
In March, both Courtney Lawes and Nathan Hughes sustained knee ligament injuries and have been out of action since.
What could further complicate matters is Hartley's history with concussions, as he has been forced to miss 14 weeks from two separate occurrences.
The 32-year-old previously confessed he would consider retirement if he suffered another serious head injury but that doesn't appear to be the case.