England captain Dylan Hartley will miss their tour of South Africa because of a concussion that will also keep him out of the remainder of Northampton Saints’ season.
Hartley sustained the concussion in England’s Six Nations finale with Ireland last month and has not featured for Northampton since.
After a disappointing Six Nations in which England lost to Scotland, France and Ireland, Hartley would have been expected to lead the team in their bid to bounce back in a three-Test tour of South Africa.
But he will not be part of the squad for that series, having followed medical advice to take an extended period of rest.
“I’m very disappointed that I will not be available for selection for Saints’ remaining Premiership games, as well England’s tour to South Africa,” Hartley told Northampton’s official website.
“It has been recommended by specialists that I take a break this summer and while I find that decision hard to accept, it’s important I listen to that advice.
“I intend to use this time to recover fully from my injury, so I can be ready to hit the ground running when pre-season training starts later this summer.”
Northampton are a lowly 10th in the Premiership, having won just seven of their 20 league games.
England’s series with South Africa starts with the first Test on June 9 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
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