Dylan Hartley extends with Northampton Saints

England’s New Zealand born hooker Dylan Hartley has re-signed with Northampton Saints and will be staying at Franklin’s Gardens for the foreseeable future.

The new contract is Hartley’s third at the Saints. He joined the club in 2005 while still in his teens and was immediately making an impact in the first team. Four-and-a-half years later he is one of the Saints’ longest-serving players, despite still being just 23 years old.

His playing prowess was recognised early. After progressing through the England age group ranks he was the only National League One player chosen to tour New Zealand in 2008 and made his full international debut against the Pacific Islanders later that year. He has been involved in every England match day squad since and now has 16 caps to his name.

This season Hartley has been captaining the Saints, the youngest player to hold such a position in the Guinness Premiership. He also passed the 100-appearance mark in the Heineken Cup trip to Treviso in December and is looking forward to many more in the black, green and gold.

“Captaining this club makes me prouder than I can possibly explain so there was never any danger of me not re-signing,” he said.

“Saints have supported me, stood by me, helped me to grow up and Jim and Dorian very publicly put a huge amount of faith in me by making me the captain of the club and I want to repay that trust and support.

“It’s also incredibly important for my development that I spend the next few years playing for a serious rugby-town team run by top coaches, alongside fantastic players, challenging for domestic silverware and playing regular Heineken Cup rugby and this season especially Saints are ticking all of those boxes and more.

“This is a really exciting place to be right now. The club’s on the verge of very big things and I think my role going forwards is pretty clear – keep learning, keep improving, keep performing, keep winning, keep doing my best to lead by example and to keep rewarding the faith shown in me by my coaches.”

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that while Hartley has improved a lot as a player there is still a lot to come.

“Dylan has concentrated hard on all aspects of his game over the past few years and has developed very well as a player,” he said. “But although he has plenty of experience at club and international level he is still in the early years of his career and has a lot more time to get better.

“He has been a good captain for the team this year. He leads by example, on and off the field, and has taken to the role very well. I am delighted that he is staying with us.”

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