Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes get Northampton Saints deals

Media playback is not supported on this device

England future kept Hartley a Saint

England pair Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes are among seven players to have signed new deals at Northampton Saints.

Calum Clark, an England squad member, Alex Waller, Ethan Waller, James Craig and Gareth Denman have also agreed terms with the Premiership champions.

Captain Hartley, 28, said he had agreed a three-year deal after rejecting an offer for "a lot more money" from French side Montpellier.

"It was a big decision," the hooker told BBC Look East.

"I've been here 10 years now and thought it might be time to move on and find a new challenge with a lot of sunshine and a lot more money."

Had Hartley decided to join a Top 14 side from next season, he would have be exempt from England selection after the 2015 World Cup.

"Playing for England for me is the ultimate," he said. "Ultimately what I want to do is play for England and play for Saints. I think there's unfinished business with the Saints.

"The draws were the players, the management, the town and the fans. Packing all that up and leaving it behind was a scary thought."

Stable squad benefits Saints
"Most of the attention will be on the England pair re-signing and keeping Hartley and Lawes is important."But keeping the others is vital too. Calum Clark is in the form of his life and is consistently one of Saints' most influential players."The Wallers, Denman and Craig, very much represent the future of the pack as Jim Mallinder looks to build a lasting legacy."All Saints supporters could now wish for, ahead of Christmas, is a win against Leicester and news that the likes of Stephen Myler, Phil Dowson, Kahn Fotuali'i and George Pisi are also staying put."

Like Hartley, Lawes has become a central figure in Stuart Lancaster's side, starting at lock in all the 2014 Six Nations fixtures and against Australia and South Africa this autumn.

Flanker Clark, 25, was named in Lancaster's squad in October but is yet to make his Test debut after 119 appearances for his club.

Fellow forwards Alex Waller, his brother Ethan, Craig and Denman complete Saints' intention to tie the bulk of their pack down for the foreseeable future.

"The seven forwards that we have announced today are all good players already, but they still have the ability to improve and we are looking forward to seeing them develop further at Franklin's Gardens," said director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

Courtney Lawes takes on South Africa's Jannie Du Plessis
Lawes has been in fine form in the second row for England and Northampton this season

Top Stories