Hartley extends with Northampton Saints

England hooker Dylan Hartley is to stay with Aviva Premiership Rugby Club Northampton Saints until at least 2015 after signing a new contract.

Hartley, 25, is now in his seventh season at Franklin’s Gardens, having arrived from Worcester in the summer of 2005.

In his time at the Saints he has established himself as one of the best hookers in England with 34 caps to his name, and in starting every game in the 2011 Six Nations Hartley helped his country to the eventual title.

At club level Hartley has made 144 appearances in the black, green and gold, scoring 15 tries.

Appointed captain in 2009 he has led the Saints to successive Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals and the 2011 Heineken Cup final.

But although he has achieved a great deal in his time at Franklin’s Gardens Hartley says there is plenty of incentive to keep improving over the next three years.

“I’ve got a lot of ambition for myself and for the team and want to keep cracking on,” he said, “and I know that I need to keep improving as a player as we’ve got several good hookers at the club who all want to be playing first team rugby and are knocking on the door.

“I’m delighted and very happy to be staying at the Saints. I’ve played all my professional rugby here, the club’s a big part of my life and I’m happy to continue that.

“The Heineken Cup run last year is an obvious highlight of my time here so far, and Division One was good fun, too. But my whole time here has been a great experience and a learning curve. I’ve grown up here and it’s a home away from home.”

Hartley is the fifth player to have signed a new deal with the Saints in the past two weeks, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder is delighted that his captain has put pen to paper once again.

“Even though he is just 25 years old Dylan is one of our senior players, and we’re now just starting to see him grow into his position as captain,” he said.

“He leads the team from the front and never takes a backward step. He is very motivated to make the team succeed and bring the best out of the other players in the squad.

“He is also determined to keep improving as a player. Twenty-five is still young for a front rower, and while Dylan is established in the Premiership and at international level there is plenty for him to learn.

“So we think the best is yet to come from him, and we’re delighted that he will be getting better as part of the Saints squad over the next three years.”

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