Hartley: It was my call not to continue as Saints captain

Dylan Hartley will play a part for Saints at Saracens (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dylan Hartley will play a part for Saints at Saracens (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Dylan Hartley has confirmed it was his decision not to continue as Saints captain and pledged to support new skipper Lee Dickson.

Hartley’s six-year spell as Northampton captain came to an end on Monday as Dickson was announced as the man to lead the team for the forthcoming campaign.

The scrum-half, who has 203 Saints appearances and 18 England caps under his belt, has skippered his club on a handful of occasion.

And director of rugby Jim Mallinder has now decided the 30-year-old is the man to take the team forward.

Hartley, who is currently serving a suspension but will be available to play again from September 21, believes Dickson is a good choice.

But he has stressed it was his call not to continue as captain, citing the need to focus fully on his own performances.

“I would like to clear up the headlines that this is another ‘blow’ for my career - it’s not,” Hartley wrote on social networking site Twitter.

“Congrats to Lee, he is a close friend and will lead the team superbly with all my support.

“Over the last six years with help from all the players and staff, the captaincy was something I felt I grew into and even enjoyed.

“When asked about continuing the role of captaincy this season I was indecisive, which to me wasn’t right.

“It was my decision not to continue as I feel the need to spend time and energy on myself as a player and at home as a dad. A selfish decision but the right one as the role requires time, energy and selflessness.

“I will be competing hard for a spot in the team and continue to give it my best on a Saturday for the club.

“Thank you to everyone for your support.”