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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

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.

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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

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.

Hartley banned for six weeks following Leinster red

The England captain lasted just six minutes off the bench Credit: PA Images

Northampton Saints forward Dylan Hartley has been banned for six weeks following his sending off during their defeat against Leinster in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Franklin's Gardens.

The England captain lasted just six minutes off the bench after he was red-carded for a swinging arm tackle on Leinster's Sean O'Brien.

Prior to this Hartley had already served a total of 54 weeks suspension, the longest being 26 weeks for eye-gouging. His punishments also cost him the chance to play with the British Lions in 2013, and for England in last year's Rugby World Cup.

The six-week ban means Hartley will be able to start in England's Six Nations opener against France at Twickenham on February 4.

Dylan Hartley to learn red card fate on Wednesday

Dylan Hartley will learn on Wednesday if he will be available to lead England into the RBS Six Nations Credit: PA

Northampton Saints forward Dylan Hartley will find out on Wednesday if he'll be able to lead England into the Six Nations.

The England captain lasted just six minutes off the bench after he was red-carded in the Saints' 37-10 defeat to Leinster on Friday in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Franklin's Gardens.

The dismissal capped a miserable night for Saints fans who are genuinely concerned about the club's ill discipline on the field and poor form.

A suspension of eight weeks or more would rule him out of the Six Nations opener against France at Twickenham on February 4.

Hartley will appear before an independent hearing to discover the length of the ban.

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Make or break for Northampton Saints

Franklin's Gardens. Credit: Press Association.

The pressure is on Northampton Saints with the next two games set to make or break their season.

A week tomorrow they have to beat fierce rivals Leicester to keep their Premiership campaign alive.

But first it is win or bust in the Quarter Finals of the European Champions Cup.

Donovan Blake looks ahead to their contest with the Premiership leaders.

England rugby squad named: No place for Tom Youngs

Dylan Hartley is widely tipped to be England captain despite his disciplinary problems. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Four players have the Anglia region have been named in new coach Eddie Jones' first 33-man England squad.

Dylan Hartley, Paul Hill and Courtney Lawes of Northampton Saints and Norfolk's Ben Youngs of Leicester Tigers are in the squad.

No captain named at this stage but Dylan Hartley is widely tipped despite his disciplinary problems. The Northampton hooker, 29, was dropped from the World Cup squad after a series of disciplinary breaches.

Norfolk's Tom Youngs have been left out of the England rugby squad named by Eddie Jones. Credit: Nigel French/PA Archive/PA Images

The notable omissions from the squad is Ben's brother Tom Youngs, the Leicester hooker who has been dropped and Northampton Saints' Tom Wood.

England head coach Eddie Jones says he has "chosen a lot of new players on the growth we see in them".

"The long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby. Jones says "the door is not shut for anyone" after naming his first squad.

“I have spoken to some of the players who have not been selected," he said. "Naturally they will be disappointed and that is how it should be. They know what they need to do to get back into this squad.

"There is no such thing as a shut door because of injuries and loss of form. There will always be opportunities to anyone playing consistently well in the Premiership and Europe.”

– Eddie Jones, England Head Coach

The squad will meet at Pennyhill Park on 24 January to prepare for their opening Six Nations match against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday 6 February.

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