Northampton expects Hartley return this season

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The hooker missed all of England's Six Nations campaign because of a knee injury that has kept him out since December.

But Northampton is confident of the England captain getting some game time for his club ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"Dylan has been to the specialist. It was really positive," Northampton's director of rugby Chris Boyd said.

"I'm not sure when, but I'm really optimistic Dylan will play some football before the end of the season.

"He might be three to six weeks, but he's in a really good space."

England faces Barbarians on 3 June (AEDT) and plays four further warm-up games before its Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga on 22 September.