Dylan Hartley has expressed his disappointment at the eight-week ban he received for biting the finger of Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris in England's 30-9 victory at Twickenham 10 days ago.

Hartley will only play for his club, Northampton, again this season if they reach the Aviva Premiership final on 26 May.

The 26-year-old will be available for England's summer tour to South Africa, but is destined to watch Saints' run-in from the sidelines.

"I am disappointed by the result and I will wait for the written judgment as to how the panel came to their conclusion," Hartley said.

"I now have to put it behind me and focus on supporting Saints in training and off the field."

The written judgment is expected to be published by Friday.

It had been speculated that Hartley would face an extended spell out having served a 26-week ban for gouging in 2007.

But it is understood that due the length of time that has passed since the incident, the hearing decided a four-week reduction to eight weeks was appropriate.

Hartley was accompanied to the hearing by Graham Rowntree, the England forwards coach who is pleased that the Saints skipper will be able to participate in the summer tour to South Africa.

"It's unfortunate for Dylan and Northampton, especially as he was in good form during the Six Nations and he has developed as a player and a leader," Rowntree said.

"However, we are looking forward to him being available for the tour to South Africa."

Biting carries a low-end entry point of a 12-week suspension, while the mid-range punishment is 18 weeks and there is a ban of 24-plus weeks at the top end. The maximum sanction is a four-year punishment.