Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley is to remain as the club's captain for this season, the club have announced.
It follows speculation that Hartley, the England hooker with 47 caps, would be stripped of the armband after he was given an 11-week ban for swearing at referee Wayne Barnes and calling him a cheat in last year's Aviva Premiership final.
And although he claimed that his comments were not directed at Barnes, the RFU hit him with the lengthy ban, which ruled him out of the British & Irish Lions' tour of Australia.
But Saints boss Jim Mallinder believes that Hartley can cope with his responsibility as captain, despite his disciplinary issues.
"He has learned from what happened at Twickenham and knows what is expected of him in the coming season," Mallinder told BBC Sport. "We certainly believe that he has the temperament to do well under the pressure, and will continue to improve as a player and as a leader"
"Dylan has matured a great deal over the past few years and is now an excellent club captain"
Hartley is no stranger to controversy on the rugby field. In 2007 he was given a 26-week ban for 'making illegal contact with the eye area' of both Johnny O'Connor and James Haskell of Wasps.
The New Zealand-born 27-year-old was also given an eight-week ban after he was found guilty of biting Irish flanker Stephen Ferris in the 2012 Six Nations, whilst he was also banned for two weeks in December after hitting Ulster hooker Rory Best in a Heineken Cup match.
Northampton Saints are widely expected to enjoy a successful season, following the summer signings of prop Alex Corbisiero, scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i and winger George North.
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