England captain posts 'Dylan Hartley statement on Dylan Hartley' after concussion blow

Dylan Hartley has published a defiant message on social media after it was announced that he will miss England's tour to South Africa because of concussion.

Hartley has not played since the final match of the NatWest 6 Nations, against Ireland on March 17, and on Monday his club Northampton revealed that he is to take an extended break.

The 32-year-old, who has sustained two previous significant concussions, has been stood down until pre-season for the 2018-19 campaign, meaning he will sit out the June series against the Springboks.

It appears that Hartley, who has captained England in all-but one Test under Eddie Jones, has taken exception to coverage of the news.

The hooker has released on Instagram a post titled "Dylan Hartley statement on Dylan Hartley" beside a photo of him singing the national anthem.

"Believe it or not this is a photo of me singing and not what is rumoured to be a fat lady (difficult to tell apart I know)," he said.

"I see there's a lot of so-called experts out there in newspapers, pubs and podcasts recommending what I do with my career.

"Funnily enough I'm only listening to the medical professionals and myself.

"Fortunately/unfortunately for some I'll be back next season to help my respective teams push on. Thank you for your support."

Two years ago Hartley was ruled out for a total of 14 weeks because of two separate concussions, the last in the Grand Slam-clinching victory over France in which he was knocked out.

He later conceded he had no memory of the trophy presentation held on the pitch and questioned whether another substantial head knock could result in his early retirement.

Hartley said in 2016: "Every time that you see your kid you think 'if I hit my head again what's that going to mean?'

"If I got another one now I'd be worried. I would probably start looking at other careers, or stuff like that, or maybe a long lay-off."

- PA

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