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Hartley signs new Saints deal

England hooker Dylan Hartley has signed a new deal to keep him with Northampton until at least 2015.

The 25-year-old has been with Saints since arriving from Worcester in 2005 and has led them with aplomb since 2009, guiding them to consecutive appearances in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals as well as last season's Heineken Cup final.

Hartley said: "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."

Hartley has made 144 appearances for the Franklin's Gardens outfit, scoring 15 tries, and during that time has established himself as an England regular.

The New Zealand-born forward has won 34 caps and started every game of England's Six Nations title success earlier this year, although the now-retired Steve Thompson was Martin Johnson's first choice during the Red Rose's World Cup campaign.

And with another three seasons lying ahead of him in the east Midlands, Hartley is keen to build on the success he has already experienced with Jim Mallinder's side.

He added: "I've got a lot of ambition for myself and for the team, and want to keep cracking on 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.

"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 has followed the example of England team-mate Ben Foden in putting pen to paper on a new deal.


From Belfast Telegraph