Tough schedule no problem for Saints skipper Hartley

BATTLING ON - Dylan Hartley (picture: Linda Dawson)
BATTLING ON - Dylan Hartley (picture: Linda Dawson)
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Dylan Hartley says Saints won’t be fazed by playing two full-blooded Heineken Cup encounters in the space of five days.

Hartley and Co host RaboDicect PRO 12 outfit Glasgow Warriors on Sunday before heading to France to face Top 14 team Castres on Friday.

It’s a testing schedule, especially when you consider Saints then take on Premiership big-hitters Saracens and Leicester on successive weekends before mid-November.

But skipper Hartley has no worries about how his side will stand up to the test of such brutal encounters.

“It is tough but we get looked after here,” he said. “During short weeks, they reduce the training load, especially with travelling and flying.

“I’m sure we’ll get another half day, day off there somewhere so it’s a bit more time spent at the drawing board and in the swimming pool looking after bodies, but technically doing our homework.

“You can’t use it as an excuse and we’re not worried about that (short turnaround).”

Hartley can’t wait to get back in action after missing the 39-17 defeat at London Irish last weekend due to a fractured eye socket.

And the hooker is desperate to get off to the best possible start in the Heineken Cup, especially bearing in mind what happened in the early stages of last season’s tournament, when Saints lost their opening two games and bowed out in the pool stages.

“We found last year if you don’t start well it doesn’t really bode well for the rest of the campaign,” said Hartley, who will start after passing the necessary fitness tests on Monday.

“Lessons have been learned from that and being at home, though we understand it’s not a given, is an advantage. Hopefully we’ll see a reaction from the weekend just gone.”