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Healey hails Hartley character as Aviva Player of the Month

Dylan Hartley - Aviva Premiership Player of the Month © Pinnacle for Aviva

Rugby News Healey hails Hartley character as Aviva Player of the Month

Dylan Hartley's strength of character has led to him being named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for January, according to former England international Austin Healey.

The Saints' skipper beat a stellar shortlist to lift the title, the second Saints player to do so this season after Samu Manoa in October.

“The saying 'strength from adversity' applies to no one more than Dylan Hartley,” said BT Sport’s Healey. “What a nine months he's had! Sent off in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, misses the Lions tour and looks to be falling down the hooking pecking order.

“That catalogue would be enough to dent even the strongest but not Dylan. This season he has shown true development of character.

“First his rugby lineout throwing - tick, defence work rate - tick, ball-carrying - tick. When you add his near perfect start to the season to the leadership he has shown at both England and the Saints it's easy to see why Dylan is not only the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month but a real contender for player of the season.”

There was only one round of Aviva Premiership Rugby in January, but this award is the only one to take in performances in all competitions, Saints’ two wins in Europe clearly catching the eye of the judges.

Hartley beat his teammate George North, Saracens full back Alex Goode, Gloucester wing Jonny May and Bath full back Anthony Watson to the fifth Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month title of the season after they were shortlisted by a prestigious media panel.

Hartley wins a trophy from title sponsor Aviva and £250 to donate to a charity of his choice.

The winner was voted for by a panel of media professionals – Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Mick Cleary (Daily Telegraph), Ian Stafford (Mail on Sunday), Jill Douglas (ITV Sport), Chris Jones (Radio 5 Live), David Rogers (Getty Images) and Ben Coles (Planet Rugby). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan Premiership Rugby's Communications Director.

AVIVA PREMIERSHIP RUGBY PLAYER OF THE MONTH WINNERS 2013/14

September - Jacques BURGER (Saracens)
October - Samu MANOA (Northampton Saints)
November - George FORD (Bath)
December - Nick EASTER (Harlequins)
January - Dylan HARTLEY (Northampton Saints)

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