Planet Rugby



Saints can improve - Hartley

01st October 2013 13:40


dylan hartley

Ambition: Dylan Hartley

Northampton Saints skipper Dylan Hartley is expecting his side to kick on ahead of a busy October schedule.

A derby fixture against Leicester Tigers kicks off a run of matches that will also see Northampton face Castres and the Ospreys in Europe, before finishing up the month against current league leaders Saracens.

The Saints have underlined their status as title contenders with three wins out of their first four matches, including a 33-14 win over Sale last Friday, but Hartley is conscious that they have plenty of work to do in order to secure silverware.

"We'd have liked to have been four from four, but I think the manner in which we've played some of our games we can be confident," Hartley told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

"We weren't quite on it at Gloucester and that was from our own doing.

"We've had a good couple of performances at home and to win at Quins was a real boost for us and it's a good challenge to start October away at Leicester this week.

"You're never going to be perfect come the end of pre-season and luckily we've been one of those teams on the right end of results and performing well.

"We're in no way the finished article and this month is going to be an important one.

"We've got the two Heineken games coming up but Leicester is a huge individual challenge by itself.

"We've got to make sure our performances are right up there and look to break the month down week by week. Then we turn our focus to the Heineken Cup.

"That's a different challenge and Castres away is no easy trip - they are Top 14 champions and we know them well.

"We have to try and look at each tournament separately though and we'll not be thinking too much about the Heineken until it comes around. October will be a big challenge all round."

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