Hartley named Saints skipper
England hooker takes over from Reihana as Northampton captain
Last Updated: July 22, 2009 8:16pm
Northampton have appointed hooker Dylan Hartley as their club captain for the 2009-10 season.
"I was shocked when I was asked. I walked into the office - it was a little bit like Dragon's Den actually! - and the coaches sat me down and put it to me."
Dylan Hartley Quotes of the week
The 23-year-old England international received a six-month ban for eye gouging in 2007 and was ruled out of his country's 2007 World Cup plans as a result.
However, Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes he is now a different person and is ready to take on the responsibility of leading his team.
"Over the past few years, Dylan has matured considerably as a player and as a person and his appointment as captain reflects the hard work he has put in on and off the field," he said.
"As a current international, he is one of the senior players at the club.
"Dylan has taken that position in his stride and has the respect of all the players in the squad.
"He leads by example, is one of our key players and I believe he is ready for the responsibility of taking the team forward over the next few years."
Hartley admits he was stunned when told he was in line to succeed Bruce Reihana but is delighted to take on the role.
"I was shocked when I was asked," he said.
"I walked into the office - it was a little bit like Dragon's Den actually! - and the coaches sat me down and put it to me.
"It is a big role and something that I couldn't turn down. If I've got their backing, it means it is for a reason and something I'm looking forward to doing."