Mallinder: Hartley still has key role at Saints

Dylan Hartley (left) still has a key role to play, says Jim Mallinder (right) (picture: Linda Dawson)
Dylan Hartley (left) still has a key role to play, says Jim Mallinder (right) (picture: Linda Dawson)

Jim Mallinder has stressed Dylan Hartley will still have a big leadership role at Saints, despite losing the captaincy to Lee Dickson.

Hartley has been Northampton skipper for the past six seasons, having taken over from Bruce Reihana in July, 2009.

But he will not lead the team this season, with Dickson, a man who has captained Saints on a handful of occasions, given the nod.

Hartley is currently serving a ban for headbutting Saracens hooker Jamie George in last season’s Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final.

But he will be available for selection from September 21, just in time to face Sarries in the first pre-season meeting five days later.

And Mallinder said: “Dylan has been a superb captain for the past six seasons – the most successful period in the club’s history.

“He will remain one of many leaders in the team and provide crucial support for Lee from both a playing and day-to-day perspective.”

On Dickson, the director of rugby said: “Lee has been a key part not only of the team, but also our leadership group at the Gardens for a number of years.

“He has captained the side well in the past and is a player with a huge amount of big game experience both for club and country.

“On the field he sets the example with his tremendous work rate and leadership, while off it he is a popular and respected member of the squad.

“We have no doubt that he is the right man to step up for the job.”