Retired England skipper Dylan Hartley has expressed his delight that he is back in the game with a new team after signing up with RugbyPass Offload, the new podcast that also features Ireland’s Simon Zebo, Wales’ Jamie Roberts and Scotland’s Ryan Wilson. 

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Not since December 2018 when Northampton won at Worcester has Hartley, the now-retired 34-year-old played a match and eleven months on from his November 2019 injury-enforced retirement, he is now set to weekly put his head above the parapet in a new show that will cover the whole rugby spectrum.   

Having finished up on 97 caps, three short of becoming a rare England Test level centurion, Hartley adjusted to life without the game by writing his autobiography and with The Hurt now on the bookshelves, he has turned his hand to broadcasting, joining a stellar cast at RugbyPass Offload. 

Speaking to show host Christina Mahon, the community engagement manager at Rugby Players Ireland, at the start of the debut episode, Hartley admitted: “I’m slightly nervous. The first time pressure is on to deliver something. I have always been a guest, now I’m the host of a podcast. The pressure is on to deliver some good content. 

“Do you know what I love about it? It’s going to keep me in contact with the game. Covid has been pretty hard, trying to follow it all, two or three games a week at times. But it’s kind of like filling the void, having that kind of daily changing room banter and connection with rugby has completely gone out of my life. This is going to give me a platform to stay connected with the game I love. 

Ex-England skipper on his daily aches and pains 2??0?? months after he last played a match.

Posted by RugbyPass on Saturday, 29 August 2020

“Genuinely, it’s filling a void. I do have a lot of time on my hands so I’m going to use this as a platform to pitch for work and promote my book. The whole thing behind my book was to give an insight into the game to the stuff that people don’t see – and that is kind of like this podcast for me.

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“I always toed the party line in terms of media-wise when I played the game because I worked and played for an organisation, their views and opinions came before my own. I now have a platform where I can communicate my views on the game through my experience. 

“I can form my own opinions and I’m going to share those. Not saying I’m going to be controversial for the sake of being controversial, but the talent we have got involved on the panel is going to give us a pretty broad idea and insight to the game. I’m genuinely excited about working with everyone.”

– To listen on iTunes, click here

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