Hartley and his Saints are ready for a big swing of games in October © www.redhatphoto.com
Rugby News Hartley: Saints ready for ‘big challenge’ in October
With September and the opening four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby behind them, the games keep coming thick and fast for the Saints. With a blockbuster October upcoming – clashes with Leicester and Saracens sandwiching the opening exchanges of the Heineken Cup – skipper Dylan Hartley is relishing the task facing his side.
Three wins from four have been a good return for the men in black, green and gold, but Hartley is adamant the best is yet to come and hopeful of hitting the next level over the crucial coming weeks.
“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,” the hooker said. “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.”
Yet while the start of their European campaign is less than a fortnight away, there is the small matter of the season’s first east midlands derby to keep the minds focused on domestic matters, something Hartley is all too keen to stress.
“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.”
It is a month that ends with huge back-to-back home games, Ospreys coming to town on Sunday, October 20th in the Heineken Cup eight days before the Saints welcome Saracens for the return of Aviva Premiership Rugby on Saturday, October 26th.
Tickets are already on sale for the duo of games and can be purchased online or on your mobile by CLICKING HERE