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Hartley: Perfect start for Saints

Northampton captain Dylan Hartley described the Saints' 27-19 victory over defending Aviva Premiership champions Leicester as the "perfect start" to the season.

Despite a desperate day with the boot by Stephen Myler - he missed five penalties - Saints were worthy winners after storming into a 14-0 lead. And when Jim Mallinder spared Myler any further agony, replacing him with Shane Geraghty in the final quarter, England back Geraghty kicked five points and carved out a try for tighthead prop Brian Mujati.

England hooker Hartley said: "It's a special achievement, seeing off a pack as powerful as Leicester's, so we are feeling good inside. They are a quality side so the victory is excellent. This is the perfect start to the season, a reward for our hard work and a positive attitude. Now it's up to us to build on this."

Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill was brutally honest about his team's failings.

Cockerill said: "The start was unimpressive from us. The laws dictate that you carry the ball and you cannot easily defend against that.

"We were in the game but we were also indisciplined, conceded too many penalties and we did not look after the ball well enough. They did those things better than us.

"I have got no complaints. I put out a good side and there are some guys there who are learning. But there are no excuses, we cost ourselves a possible bonus point, but I haven't looked at the video of the performance yet.

"By the time we got to grips with holding onto the ball, we could have come away with two points from a fourth try. I've no complaints about the result or the referee. But on the performance, two points would have been more than we deserved."


From Belfast Telegraph