Northampton Saints and England player Dylan Hartley has announced that he will be retiring from professional rugby with immediate effect.
The 33-year-old hooker has been unable to recover from a knee injury that has kept him out of action throughout 2019.
Hartley is the Saint’s longest serving player, retiring at the start of his fifteenth season after having made more than 250 appearances for the club.
The Rotorua-born player first joined the Saints at the Northampton Franklin’s Garden stadium back in 2005.
Named captain for the first time in 2009 at just 23-years-old he became the youngest premiership skipper and ended up captaining the team for eight years. Since then, he has become England’s second-most capped player of all time.
The player admits that it’s been hard for him to come to terms with his retirement, but agrees that it’s the right time to hang up his boots.
Hartley has been described as a 'club legend' by the Saints who have said that his achievements are ‘almost unparalleled by his peers’.
Hartley will now act as an ambassador for the club. The new role will help the Saint's to maximize their impact across Northamptonshire and beyond.