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Dylan Hartley signs new deal with Northampton Saints

Hartley captained Saints to Premiership and European Challenge Cup titles in 2014 Credit: PA

Dylan Hartley has been re-appointed as captain of Northampton Saints for a second time.

It comes as the 31 year old signs a new contract at Franklin's Gardens.

His old deal had been due to expire at the end of next season.

The hooker has made more than 200 appearances for Saints since joining them from Worcester Warriors in 2006.

Last season, fellow England international Tom Wood skippered the side as Saints finished seventh in England's top flight.

Hartley has led England to successive Six Nations titles under head coach Eddie Jones.

The decision to offer Dylan the captaincy is no reflection on how Tom Wood led the team last season. Tom is an outstanding leader himself who is fully committed in training and in games each and every week, and he will remain an important part of the leadership group. But we felt that Dylan is in the right place both personally and professionally to be our captain once again.

We’re also delighted that he has signed a new contract to stay at Franklin’s Gardens. Dylan has been one of the best hookers in Europe for several years and is hugely committed to the Saints.

– Director of rugby Jim Mallinder

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Saints start Premiership assault at rugby HQ

Saints stars set for new season

The Aviva Premiership fixtures have been released and Northampton Saints will open their campaign at the home of English Rugby.

They'll be part of a double header as they take on European champions Saracens will face Northampton while London Irish will play Harlequins at Twickenham on the opening weekend.

The first home match will be against derby rivals Leicester, and fans can look forward to a home game just before Christmas with a game against champions Exeter.

Full fixtures at the club website.

Saints' George North ruled out of Lions tour

North claimed a try in Tuesday's Hurricanes draw Credit: PA

Northampton Saints' George North has been ruled out of the rest of the British and Irish Lions tour.

The winger suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday's 31-31 draw with the Hurricanes.

North will return home this weekend for further treatment, along with teammate Robbie Henshaw, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

North misses out on Lions Test

George North will sit out the first Test. Credit: PA

George North has been left out of the British and Irish Lions squad for Saturday's first Test against New Zealand.

The Northampton Saints star had been widely expected to start on the wing against the All Blacks, but Warren Gatland has opted for Wasps' Elliot Daly instead.

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Saints teammate Courtney Lawes will also have to settle for a watching brief, while the team will be captained by Ireland's Peter O'Mahoney.

Saints face top teams in European Champions Cup

Northampton Saints have been placed in Pool two Credit: Twitter/@ChampionsCup

Northampton Saints' fate has been decided for next season's European Champions Cup.

The Saints have been placed in Pool Two and face tough opponents, including reigning champions Saracens and last year's runner's up Clermont Auvergne.

The opening round of the competition starts in October.

Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder says it's a chance for his side to test themselves against the other top teams.

If you want to be in the Champions Cup you’ve got to be prepared to play tough teams and this is what we will have to do,” Mallinder says.

It’s a challenging draw and we know that we’ll have to play at our very best if we are to progress from it. Saracens and Clermont were this year’s Champions Cup finalists and are two of the best teams in Europe, and the Ospreys have plenty of international players, too.

But it is a draw that we can be excited about, because we want to test ourselves against the other top team, and we believe we’ve got a squad that can compete next season.

– Jim Mallinder, Director of Rugby

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Lawes impresses but British & Irish Lions suffer defeat

Lawes leaves the pitch with Johnny Sexton. Credit: PA
  • Blues 22-16 British and Irish Lions

Northampton Saints forward Courtney Lawes enjoyed an impressive debut for the British and Irish Lions, but couldn't prevent them from losing to the Blues in Auckland.

A late Ihaia West try condemned the Lions to their first defeat of this summer's New Zealand tour as they fell way short of their best at Eden Park.

Warren Gatland's side had looked on course to scrape a narrow victory courtesy of Leigh Halfpenny's boot, but West crossed the line with just five minutes remaining to win the match for the Super Rugby side.

Lawes was one of the players to emerge with plaudits though thanks to a series of bone-crunching tackles and his partnership with England colleague Maro Itoje in the second row.

The loss will come as a big blow to the Lions who were up against a Blues team who are currently bottom of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.

They will face another step up in class on Saturday when they face the unbeaten Crusaders in Christchurch.

Courtney Lawes: Northampton star handed first Lions start

Courtney Lawes will start against the Blues. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints second row Courtney Lawes will make his debut for the British and Irish Lions in Wednesday's tour match against the Blues.

The 28-year-old is one of 15 changes from the side that stuttered past the Provincial Barbarians.

Lawes' Saints teammate George North won't feature in the match in Auckland, but should face the Crusaders on Saturday.

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Georgia on their minds: England U20s ready for World Cup challenge

Alex Mitchell Credit: Northampton saints

Northampton Saints youngster Alex Mitchell is part of the England Under 20s side to face Wales in the second game of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia tomorrow.

England won their opening game of the Championship, scoring 12 tries in a 74-14 victory over Samoa.

You'll be able to see highlights of the game on ITV4 tomorrow night at 11pm.

And for more news follow ITV Rugby on Twitter.

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