Hartley has high hopes for Saints team-mate Harrison on tour
As the man who discovered Teimana Harrison, Dylan Hartley is well placed to assess the talented flanker's first appearance for England.
Harrison lined up alongside Hartley in last Sunday’s Old Mutual Wealth Cup clash with Wales, helping the Red Rose secure a 27-13 win at Twickenham.
The 23-year-old provided some of the cut and thrust that earned him Saints’ players’ player and supporters’ player of the year prizes.
And his typically ferocious approach to the game impressed Hartley, who recommended his fellow former Rotorua Boys High pupil to Saints after watching him in New Zealand back in 2011.
“He went well, a couple of good carries and he was unlucky at the breakdown on one thing, but I don’t think he looked out of place out there,” said Hartley, who continued his fine record as England skipper last weekend.
“It was a great way for him to cap the season off and there’s three more games (on this month’s three-Test tour of Australia) for him.
“There’s obviously more competition from the likes of Chris Robshaw and Billy Vunipola coming back into the fold.
“I think he held his hand up on Saturday.”
England boss Eddie Jones handed Harrison a start at six, expecting him to take on the role of ‘street fighter’.
And that was exactly what Harrison did, putting his body on the line in trademark fashion.
“Eddie asked him to come off the field bleeding like James Haskell does and I saw him getting some stitches in his eye,” Hartley said.
“He’s been in the wars and I’m really happy for him.
“If he just keeps playing the way he’s been playing all season, I think he’s got some good rugby left in him.”
Courtney Lawes was another man to impress for England last weekend, with the lofty lock making a huge hit on Jamie Roberts before setting up a try for Marland Yarde with a tidy offload.
And Hartley said: “I thought he went about his work nicely.
“The lineout was 100 per cent, which is good.
“We don’t often see Courtney in the calling role so it gives the coaches another option for when people like George (Kruis) and Maro (Itoje) come back into the fold as well.”
Hartley, Harrison, Lawes, Paul Hill and Luther Burrell, who was called into the touring squad on Monday after scoring against Wales a day earlier, will now set their sights on Australia.
The first Test comes at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on June 11.
And Hartley can’t wait to get stuck into the Aussies.
“It’s an opportunity for us,” he said. “We won against Wales to stay fourth in the rankings. Australia are No.2 and that’s where we want to get to. We want to be in the top one or two. It’s the next step.
“We’ve never won a series out there so it’s another big carrot for us.”