Skipper Dylan Hartley has published a defiant message on social media after it was announced he will miss Saints’ final two matches of the season and England’s tour of South Africa due to concussion.
Hartley has not played since the final game of the NatWest 6 Nations, against Ireland on March 17, and on Monday, Saints 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 clashes with Wasps and Worcester as well as England’s 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),” said Hartley, who has not played for Saints since the January 20 defeat at Saracens.
“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.”