Northampton suspend winger Calum Clark indefinitely


Northampton have announced that they have suspended flanker Calum Clark from playing until further notice.

Clark was cited and will face a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing next week following an alleged incident of foul play during last Sunday's LV= Cup final between Saints and Leicester at Worcester.

England elite squad member Clark is accused of an act contrary to good sportsmanship for hyperextending Tigers hooker Rob Hawkins' arm during the game. Hawkins suffered a broken elbow.

In a statement, Northampton said: "Northampton Saints has conducted an internal investigation regarding an alleged incident during last Sunday's LV
Cup final.

"Following the completion of this investigation the club's management has suspended Calum Clark from playing until further notice.

"Northampton Saints will make no further comment about this issue."

It is a clear pre-emptive strike by Northampton ahead of 22-year-old Clark's RFU appearance next Monday.

Hawkins is not expected to play again this season as a result of the injury, and Clark, who captained Saints in the LV= Cup final, could face a significant punishment.

Television footage of the game shows former Bath forward Hawkins reeling away in agony from a 21st-minute ruck. It was an incident that enraged Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill.

"If Calum Clark is deemed to have done it on purpose it's pretty horrendous," Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester.

"Something has gone on there, but we will let them look at it and sort it out.

"It's a pretty poor act. I think it is really out of order, and in my opinion it's as bad an injury as I've seen on a rugby field."

Clark, in the immediate term, will miss Northampton's Aviva Premiership clash at home to Wasps tomorrow. Saints are currently fourth in the table and pressing for a title play-off place.

And it promises to be a difficult week for Northampton, with their England hooker Dylan Hartley facing a Six Nations disciplinary hearing in London next Tuesday.

Hartley was cited for allegedly biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris' finger during the RBS 6 Nations clash between the countries at Twickenham last Saturday.