Dylan Hartley appeared in all five RBS 6 Nations matches this year
Dylan Hartley could hand England a boost ahead of the summer tour of New Zealand with the news he may return to action with Northampton Saints next week.
The 28-year-old appeared in all five of England's RBS 6 Nations games this spring, but has not played since injuring his shoulder against Leicester in late March.
Any potential involvement in Northampton Saints' Premiership final against Saracens on May 31 would rule him out of the first Test in Auckland on June 7.
But with Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder revealing the hooker was in contention for the final at Twickenham following a solid period of training, it provides encouraging news for England coach Stuart Lancaster for the remainder of the New Zealand tour.
"We have got a chance that he comes back into the equation, which might give us a completely fully-fit squad to choose from, so selection for next week is going to be massive," Mallinder said.
"He has improved again. He trained with the non-matchday 23 this week, so he's been out with them doing everything that they've done.
"We've got to decide. It is a big call. He has not played for a number of weeks, and our two hookers are playing really well, so they certainly will be putting their hand up."