Dylan Hartley: Ex-England captain retires from rugby due to knee injury
Last Updated: 07/11/19 4:24pm
Former England captain Dylan Hartley has retired from rugby with immediate effect due to the knee injury that kept him sidelined for all of 2019.
The 33-year-old, who won 97 caps for England and captained them on 30 occasions, has been unable to recover from the injury suffered while playing for Northampton on Worcester's artificial pitch last December.
"The last few months have been difficult for me both mentally and physically as I've come to terms with the fact that I am no longer able to compete," said Hartley.
"But I have to thank all the staff at Saints who have all invested so much time in helping me with my rehabilitation, in particular strength and conditioning coach Eamonn Hyland.
"I have loved my journey in rugby. I came to England as a teenager hoping to get a few games of rugby and to see the world. I could have never predicted that one day I'd play 14 years for such a special club and go on to represent and captain England.
"Northampton Saints has been more than just a club to me. It has been a place that has provided me with direction, purpose, a sense of family, home and belonging; and ultimately a community that I was so proud to represent every time I got a chance to play for Northampton.
"My career wasn't perfect, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'm privileged to have experienced some amazing highs while there have also been some personal lows, all of which are powerful experiences that will stay with me forever.
"The final chapter of my career was supposed to go a different way, but that is the nature of professional sport."
We will be forever indebted to him for his dedication and commitment to the team and his love of English rugby.
Eddie Jones on Dylan Hartley
Born in Rotorua, Hartley qualified for England through his mother and retires as their second-most capped player of all time.
He was handed the captaincy by Eddie Jones in 2016 and led England to back-to-back Six Nations titles as well as series wins in Australia and Argentina.
"Dylan has had a significant international career playing for his country having played 97 Tests, and was a tough, enduring character for us," said England head coach Jones.
"He was a foundation captain and we owe him a lot for his contribution to the making of this team. We will be forever indebted to him for his dedication and commitment to the team and his love of English rugby."
Hartley joined Northampton's academy in 2005 and four years later became the Premiership's youngest captain.
He is Saints' longest-serving skipper, making 251 appearances for the club and leading them to a Premiership title, two European Challenge Cups and an Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Northampton chairman John White said: "In amassing over 250 appearances in a Saints jersey throughout the club's most successful period, he has guaranteed his place amongst the likes of Edgar Mobbs, Ron Jacobs and Tim Rodber in the pantheon of Northampton's rugby legends.
"His achievements wearing the Red Rose of England are also almost unparalleled by his peers, but it is not only on the field where Dylan has conducted himself with dignity and humility.
"He has been an outstanding representative for the Club within our community in Northampton and made a significant impact via his high-profile involvement with numerous charities.
"Dylan has therefore become a role model for countless young people here in Northampton, and we hope he will continue to do this within a new role we have offered him at Saints, where he will act as a club ambassador and help us to maximise our impact across Northamptonshire and beyond."