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Dylan Hartley set to become England's most-capped hooker on Saturday

Published 17/06/2016

Dylan Hartley will become England's most-capped hooker when he leads the side out against Australia in Melbourne
Dylan Hartley will become England's most-capped hooker when he leads the side out against Australia in Melbourne

Dylan Hartley intends to savour every moment of his career as he prepares to become England's most-capped hooker.

The Grand Slam-wining captain makes his 74th appearance in Saturday's second Test against Australia at AAMI Park, surpassing the mark set by World Cup winner Steve Thompson.

It's a landmark Hartley never dreamed of when he arrived in Sussex 13 years ago from New Zealand, as his first position was prop.

"I've just found out about it, it's a huge accolade. I think I was playing loosehead prop when I came to England, so there was no way I would have expected that," Hartley said.

"I'm cherishing every moment. When you're young, you might not, you are just caught up in it.

"But when you are 30, you are aware of selection and you see that one week, some guys are in, then they're out.

"It makes me desperate to be in every week and keep being involved with this team. I just love being part of a group of people who want to go somewhere as a team."

England will complete a series victory over Australia if they prevail in Melbourne.

"This is our cup final and we have a chance to be the first team ever to do this. Has there been a mind-set shift? Definitely," Hartley said.

"It starts from the top and it filters down through myself to the senior players and through the 32.

"It's not just the players, all the staff are doing the best they can to make sure we're prepared for this weekend.

"It was nice to do that in Brisbane but the bigger picture, the real history, is to be made this week and that is the challenge and opportunity for us. It is really exciting."

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