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SAINTS 31 BATH 24 Hartley: It’s too early to talk about potential contenders

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The Round 4 clash saw the Saints leapfrog Bath into second place in the table after an entertaining clash including seven tries and 55 points be scored at a sun-soaked Franklin’s Gardens.

Inevitably some of the post-match chat revolved around the question of whether the two clubs would be in the top four come the end of the campaign. But Hartley insisted that it is far too early to be talking about such things.

“Early on these games don’t define your season,” he told SaintsTV. “You can’t write anyone off, that’s disrespectful to be talking about potential winners, contenders, that sort of thing. It’s a 10-month season, we’re four games in, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

That said, the man of the match was delighted with the performance that his team put in against a Bath outfit that had nilled Leicester in Round 3 and came to Franklin’s Gardens as the Aviva Premiership’s early pace-setters.

“Bath are a good team and showed why they’ve been talked about,” he said. “I was really proud of the lads and the way they fronted up.”

Next up for the Saints is a trip to the Madejski Stadium, where they will play a London Irish side that has beaten Leicester this weekend and came within 90 seconds over downing Saracens’ colours in Round 3.

Hartley is aware that the Exiles will need to be treated with respect, especially on home turf, adding: “They’re a team that’s dangerous on a hard track.

“But we’ll enjoy the weekend and turn up on Monday looking forward to a new challenge.”

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