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Northampton in talks with Dylan Hartley about calling time on his career

Dylan Hartley - Northampton

NORTHAMPTON Saints are in discussions with former England skipper Dylan Hartley to call time on his career.

The Saints hooker hasn’t played since last December because of an injured left knee and was expected to have come back before Christmas.

That is unlikely to happen – but Blindside believes that the knee is not the problem, it’s his previous problems with concession that are placing his career in doubt.

Saints think the time has come for New Zealand-born Hartley, 33, to admit defeat in his bid to play again and have been speaking to him to reach an agreement.

Hartley, who won 97 international caps, skippered the Franklin’s Gardens club to 2014 Premiership Final success as well as a Heineken Cup Final appearance.

He said earlier in the season that he is now paying the penalty for trying to come back too soon but was determined to pull on a Saints shirt again.

Hartley named England captain in 2016 after Eddie Jones  appointment as coach, isn’t yet ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat in his bid to play again.

He wants to give it more time even though Saints don’t believe he will return on the pitch.

Hartley’s career has been in doubt since the Six Nations when Blindside first heard suggestions that he was unlikely to play again.

And  we were first to report that he had been left out of England’s World Cup training squad in the summer.

NEIL FISSLER

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