Castres clash reminded Saints skipper Hartley of Tigers stalemate

FRENCH PAIN - Dylan Hartley shows his disappointment at the end of Saturday's defeat to Castres (Picture: Matthew Impey)
FRENCH PAIN - Dylan Hartley shows his disappointment at the end of Saturday's defeat to Castres (Picture: Matthew Impey)

Dylan Hartley felt Saints’ defeat at Castres on Saturday had echoes of the disappointment at Leicester a week earlier.

And the skipper admitted it was an opportunity missed as his men went down to a 19-13 Heineken Cup defeat at Stade Pierre-Antoine.

Saints had plenty of possession at the home of the French champions, but couldn’t convert it as Castres claimed the win.

And Hartley couldn’t help but see it as a similar story to what happened at Welford Road, when Northampton missed chances to secure victory, drawing 19-19.

“We certainly missed an opportunity,” he said. “Going to Leicester last week as well and being in the lead in that game thinking that if we close it out it would be four points and it was a bit like that on Saturday.

“It was an opportunist first try by them, a little bit more depth on our pass and we could have been seven points up ourselves. If we look to eradicate that I think it was a very close game.

“They had good patches of attacking play, a fluent offloading game but things like the driving maul was going well for us and we weren’t rewarded as we thought we should have been.

“They’re not French champions for nothing, they’ve got a proud home record and it wasn’t going to be easy, but this week we really thought we could come here and take four points.”