Hartley signs new Saints contract - and reclaims captaincy

Dylan Hartley will skipper Saints this season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dylan Hartley will skipper Saints this season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Dylan Hartley will return to the role of Saints skipper next season - and the hooker has signed a new contract at the club.

Hartley, whose previous deal was due to expire in the summer of 2018, relinquished the position of captain prior to the 2015/16 campaign, with Lee Dickson taking over.

Tom Wood took over from Dickson last summer, but Hartley, who has enjoyed huge success since being made England skipper in January 2016, will now be back leading the team during the season to come.

The 31-year-old has made 229 appearances in his 12 years at Franklin’s Gardens and had the armband during the club’s most successful ever extended period, between 2009 and 2015.

Those six years saw Saints win the Aviva Premiership, European Rugby Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup.

And they reached several other finals, including the Heineken Cup showpiece in 2011, when they lost to Leinster in Cardiff.

Hartley is not the first captain to be re-appointed for a second time. Some of the biggest names in Saints’ history have also led the team in multiple stretches, including Hall of Famers Billy Weston, Ron Jacobs, Ray Longland and Don White.