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Earls in repeat apology after disciplinary threat

By David Kelly

Munster's Keith Earls has reiterated an apology to Glasgow player Fraser Brown after a potential threat of further disciplinary action from Champions Cup organisers EPCR following a "poorly worded" interview on Ireland duty.

Earls was red-carded for a tip tackle on Glasgow's hooker during their Thomond Park clash two months ago and later apologised to the player in person before expressing remorse at a disciplinary hearing.

However, he subsequently claimed that Brown "could have done a bit more to save the impact" and that he had felt cheated leaving the pitch, specifically as the game took place only a day after the burial of his former colleague, Anthony Foley.

"In a poorly worded interview on my part I failed to acknowledge that I apologised to Fraser Brown for my actions during the Munster v Glasgow Warriors game," said Earls.

"I also failed to confirm that I acknowledged I had committed an act of foul play, and fully accepted the corresponding sanction, apologising to Glasgow Warriors and EPCR.

"I have since written to EPCR once again confirming my acceptance of the disciplinary decision and outcome.

"I have also addressed the misunderstanding directly with Fraser and unreservedly apologised again. I hope this paints a clearer picture for all and I believe it is important October 22 in Thomond Park is remembered for the right reasons and not for something I deeply regret."

Given the extreme emotions generated last month, all parties are satisfied the matter is closed.

Meanwhile, Dylan Hartley will learn tomorrow if he will be available to lead England into the Six Nations after being sent off for the third time in his career.

Hartley will appear before an independent hearing to discover the length of the ban imposed for his stiff-arm tackle on Sean O'Brien in Northampton's Champions Cup defeat by Leinster on Friday night.

Details of the charge Hartley faces have yet to be issued - the offence could fall under striking or dangerous tackle - but given his atrocious disciplinary record, a substantial ban is certain.

A suspension of eight weeks and above would rule him out of the Six Nations opener against France at Twickenham on February 4, resulting in the likely promotion of Owen Farrell to the captaincy.

Belfast Telegraph

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