Saints confirm Hartley will captain side for 2013-14 season

STAYING ON - Dylan Hartley will continue as Saints skipper for the forthcoming season (picture by Linda Dawson)

STAYING ON - Dylan Hartley will continue as Saints skipper for the forthcoming season (picture by Linda Dawson)

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Saints have confirmed that Dylan Hartley is remaining as the club’s captain for the 2013-14 season.

Hartley was controversially sent off in last season’s Aviva Premiership final for swearing at referee Wayne Barnes on the stroke of half-time.

As a result, the hooker was suspended for 11 weeks and missed the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia although he will not sit out any Saints matches.

It will be the fifth season at the helm for Hartley, who has made 171 first-team appearances and won 47 England caps during his career.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Hartley has the respect of the players and coaches, and an excellent rapport with the Saints supporters.

“Dylan has matured a great deal over the past few years and is now an excellent club captain,” he said.

“A massive amount of that work is done behind the scenes during the week, and Dylan’s attitude and desire has won him the respect of the rest of the players as well as the backroom staff.

“Of course we’re aware that the events of May’s Aviva Premiership final will mean that there will be a lot of attention on Dylan this season. He has learned from what happened at Twickenham and knows what is expected of him in the coming season.

“We certainly believe that he has the temperament to do well under the pressure, and will continue to improve as a player and as a leader.”