SAINTS star Dylan Hartley wants to usurp Bismarck du Plessis as the world’s best hooker.
Du Plessis was in dominant form as South Africa sealed a 2-0 Test series victory against Hartley’s England during the summer.
The Saints man skippered the Red Rose in the third and final Test, helping them claim a creditable 14-14 draw.
But he was unable to stop the Springboks in the first two clashes, with powerhouse du Plessis showing why he is so highly-rated.
Hartley and du Plessis are set to lock horns again later this year when South Africa come to England for the autumn internationals.
And the Northampton ace admits he is eager to eventually overtake the man he considers to be the best hooker around.
“It (the Test series in South Africa) was good in terms of playing against Bismarck du Plessis, who I’d rate as the best around at the moment in my position,” said Hartley.
“That’s kind of the benchmark and I’d like to think I could get somewhere near that in a few years or so, so that was a good experience for me.”
England were far from embarrassed by South Africa, narrowly losing the first two games before the stalemate in Port Elizabeth.
And Hartley believes his side can now go on to slay the Springboks when they head to Twickenham on Saturday, November 24.
“From a team level we knew that we were in the game in every game in South Africa,” said the 26-year-old. “In the last 10 minutes we were within a score of winning and in the last game drawing.”
“We can compete with these big boys on foreign soil so when they come over in November to Twickenham we can win.”