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  1. Anglia

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
  1. Anglia

Saints march into Europe after thriller at the Gardens

Ahsee Tuala scored the winning try for Saints Credit: PA Images

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder praised his team's powers of recovery to secure the final spot for next season's European Champions Cup.

Second half tries from Ben Foden and Ashee Tuala - the latter with the Saints down to thirteen men - helped them overturn a sixteen point deficit against Stade Francais to win 23-22.

The European Challenge Cup winners from Paris looked destined to snatch last night's play-off at Franklin's Gardens when Saints' skipper Tom Wood was dismissed.

Moments after Rory Hutchinson had been sinbinned, referee John Lacey ruled that Wood made contact with the head of Stade full back Djibril Camara in a ruck midway through the second half.

The decision incensed the home fans and their reaction seemed to inspire the Saints. Tuala's touchdown in the corner was followed by Harry Mallinder's conversion from the left hand touchline.

And despite their player advantage Stade Francais couldn't add to the points they scored before half time, including three tries.

Here's Jim Mallinder talking to ITV Angli's Donovan Blake after the game:

And Ben Foden:

Northampton Saints secure place in the Champions Cup

The Northampton Saints have secured their place in the Champions Cup. Credit: ITV News Central

The Northampton Saints have secured their place in the Champions Cup with a dramatic win against Stade Francais at Franklins Gardens.

They won the play-off final with a last minute try.

23 - 22 was the final score, meaning Saints will compete in the top flight of European rugby for a ninth successive season.

Ed Slater suspended after club disciplinary hearing

Ed Slater suspended after club disciplinary hearing Credit: PA

Leicester Tigers have suspended forward Ed Slater from playing for two weeks following an internal disciplinary hearing.

Following a citing, club officials have reviewed an incident during the first half of Saturday's European Champions Cup match against Glasgow Warriors at Welford Road and have found second-rower Slater guilty of striking an opponent.

A club statement said:

Ed has been banned for two weeks and he will miss the cup ties against Northampton Saints and Saracens.

He regrets his actions in the heat of a vital club match and will look forward to his return to action following his suspension.

– Leicester Tigers

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  1. Anglia

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.

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