Hartley warns Saints ahead of Castres clash

Pictures by Linda Dawson
Pictures by Linda Dawson

Dylan Hartley has urged Saints to back up their win against Glasgow Warriors when they head to France for Friday’s clash with Castres.

Skipper Hartley and his men came back from 15-0 down to clinch a bonus-point 24-15 victory against the RaboDirect PRO12 Warriors.

It was a spirited showing and one which puts Saints level with Ulster at the top of Heineken Cup pool 4 on five points.

But a trip to Top 14 side Castres, who lost 41-17 to Ulster in Belfast, will be a different proposition and Hartley has issued a rallying call ahead of the game in Toulouse.

“We said in the week leading up to the game, if you want to go well in the Heineken Cup you’ve got to win your home games.” said the captain.

“Usually your first game is fairly important as well so we’ll take a lot of confidence from that.

“But we’ve got to back it up in France because it’s a huge challenge going away and winning over there, regardless of who you’re playing.”

Castres are a tough nut to crack on their own turf and boast a formidable home record.

Saints will not escape unscathed, as they did against Glasgow, if they give the French outfit a head-start, but Hartley was impressed with how his side came back against the Scots.

He said: “All in all, it was a pretty good performance. I’m not too sure about the opening 30 minutes but the way we took hold of the game in the second half was pleasing.”