Clark banned indefinitely by Saints after Hawkins suffers broken elbow in cup final
10:46 GMT, 23 March 2012
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 hyper-extending Tigers hooker Rob Hawkins' arm during the game. Hawkins suffered a broken elbow.
Incident: Rob Hawkins' elbow was broken during this ruck at Sixways
In a statement, Northampton said: 'Northampton Saints has conducted an internal investigation regarding an alleged incident during last Sunday's LV
'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.
In action: Clark (right) tackles George Ford in the LV=Cup final last week
Suspended: Northampton flanker Clark
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.'
VIDEO: Rob Hawkins suffers broken elbow in LV=Cup final
WARNING – CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGE OF INJURY
Clark, in the immediate term, will miss Northampton's Aviva Premiership clash at home to Wasps. 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.