Saints aiming to help Hartley celebrate in style against Newcastle
Chris Boyd says Saints will be desperate to '˜put on a performance' for Dylan Hartley in Saturday's crucial Gallagher Premiership game against Newcastle Falcons.
Hartley returned to his club following the conclusion of his autumn international commitments with England, who he helped to beat Australia at Twickenham last Saturday.
The co-captain will be making his 250th Saints appearance when the Falcons come to town this weekend.
And Boyd said: “It’s Dylan’s 250th game and we’d like to celebrate for him with a positive performance.
“The boys enjoy playing here at the Gardens and want to play well.
“The nice thing is that there won’t be any shortage of people trying, whether they get it right or not we’ll wait and see.
“They will certainly be trying hard.”
Hartley arrived at Saints in 2005 and made his debut during the 2005/06 season.
The 32-year-old hooker has gone on to become a key player for club and country.
And when asked about Hartley’s influence on life at the Gardens, Boyd said: “It’s massive. He’s clearly an icon in this club, well respected and a great leader.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with many good leaders - John Smit, Tana Umaga, Dane Coles and Conrad Smith - and Dylan is right up amongst that.
“He’s a great leader and well respected and well regarded.
“We hope we can put on a performance for him.”
Saturday’s game at the Gardens is vital for both sides, with ninth-placed Saints sitting just five points clear of a Newcastle team that currently prop up the Premiership.
“I don’t think it matters whether you’re playing 12th or third or anything in between - the expectation is that it’s going to be really tough for both sides and that it’s going to be really close,” Boyd said.
“All these games are important.
“It’s just relentless.
“It’s another challenge and the competition is so even across the board, apart from perhaps the couple who have cleared out (Exeter and Saracens).
“You’ve just got to make sure you get it right every time.”