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Dylan Hartley battling to be fit for new season

The hooker has not played since last season’s Six Nations.

Dylan Hartley has resumed training after recovering from concussion but the England captain is still battling to be ready for the start of the Gallagher Premiership season.

The Northampton hooker suffered his latest head knock in the final match of the NatWest 6 Nations against Ireland in March and has not played since after medics advised he take an extended break from the game.

While Hartley has passed all the return to play protocols for concussion, the time out of the game has left him deconditioned ahead of the new campaign and he has been placed on a modified fitness programme.

He played a full role in training at England’s camp in south west London on Saturday but the following day completed a strength and conditioning session while his team-mates were put through their paces by Eddie Jones.

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Steve Borthwick has revealed Dylan Hartley’s recovery is on track (David Davies/PA)

When asked if Hartley will be ready for the start of the season on September 1, forwards coach Steve Borthwick said: “That’s ongoing as he progresses through the process.

“The start of the season is a month away so he’s progressing. I think everything’s going well at this stage.

“For any player who has a good spell out of the game for whatever reason, there’s always a progression through the different aspects of the game to be physically prepared.

“He’s come into camp incredibly enthusiastic. He’s enjoying being here and it looks like he enjoys being back on a rugby field.”

Borthwick will on Tuesday embark on a 12-day trip to Japan alongside Jones and scrum coach Neal Hatley as part of preparations for next year’s World Cup with the trio coaching at the Suntory Sungoliath club during their stay.

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