Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd is hopeful England captain Dylan Hartley can come back to action before the conclusion of the growing season.

But the Saints hooker was pitchside in Welford Road for Friday’s 29-15 win against Leicester – and Boyd issued a favorable post-match upgrade.

“Dylan has been to the specialist. It had been very positive,” he explained.

“I’m not certain when, but I’m really optimistic Dylan can play a few football before the close of the growing season.

“He might be just three to six weeks, however he is in a excellent space.”

Hartley is England’s second-most capped player, having played 97 internationals – 17 supporting recordholder Jason Leonard (114).

England’s next fixture is against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday 2 June, the afternoon following the Premiership closing.

Following a summer break, Eddie Jones’ side are subsequently scheduled to play warm-up internationals – 2 against Wales, afterward home matches with Ireland and Italy – prior with their Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga in Sapporo on 22 September.

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