Saints skipper Hartley hails towering Day

Skipper Dylan Hartley says Christian Day is a hooker’s best mate.

Hartley and Day combined to great effect on Saturday, shoring up the lineout in Northampton’s 40-14 destruction of London Irish.

A week earlier, with Hartley on England duty and lock Day suspended, Saints had suffered in the set piece, losing their first five lineouts in the game against Bath.

But with their experienced technicians back in action last weekend, it was a different story.

And Hartley said: “You’ve got someone calling the lineout like Christian Day and it’s not just a job, it’s a passion. It’s good to see him back playing.

“When you’re a lineout thrower, the lineout caller is your best mate.

“If he makes good calls, and Christian is very good at reading the space, it makes your job a lot easier.”

Hartley was also full of praise for Saints’ half-backs, Lee Dickson and Stephen Myler, who controlled the game at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

They kept Irish pegged back and put their own team in positions to score, contributions that didn’t go unnoticed by their captain.

“There’s many things that contributed to that (big win),” said Hartley.

“We had the lead after the half, the weather was perfect and we were playing against a team desperate for a result. It wasn’t easy.

“Irish have got a dangerous back three and I think our half-backs controlled the game really well.

“We asked them to get the ball off the field because if you kick loosely to them their back three will have a field day, so a lot of credit goes to nine and 10.”