Belfast Telegraph

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Hartley ready for Euro campaign

Dylan Hartley hopes Northampton's recruitment drive will help avoid another heartbreaking conclusion to the Heineken Cup.

Saints were involved in the tournament's most dramatic final last season when they established a 22-6 interval lead against Leinster only to crumble through exhaustion in the second half. Fatigue from competing on two fronts caught up with them at the Millennium Stadium, and the club have been busy signing players to prevent a similar scenario from unfolding.

Ryan Lamb, Tom May and George Pistil are among a string of new arrivals and Hartley, speaking at Monday's Heineken Cup launch, believes Saints are now better placed to go all the way with their "best years" ahead of them.

"It's not the pain that motivates you. You're in the competition because you want to win it, but that's not easy," he said.

"Our run to the final last year was great and was difficult, but you have to play for 80 minutes and we didn't do that.

"We were tired because we'd had the semi-final against Leicester the week before, but we were still well in front and we threw that away.

"We threw away the Heineken Cup and that hurts. Afterwards there was this feeling of exhaustion and disappointment.

"But look at Munster. They lost two finals before they won one. We're a young squad and have our best years ahead of us.

"We haven't lost anyone, instead we've added more depth which is probably what we needed on last year."


From Belfast Telegraph