Hartley hails 'unbelievable' turnaround

Sun, 15 Dec 2013 10:57
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Northampton Saints skipper Dylan Hartley says his side notched up one of the biggest revenge missions in the history of the European Cup on Saturday.

Northampton Saints skipper Dylan Hartley said his side were able to notch one of the biggest revenge missions in the history of the European Cup on Saturday.

Hartley said the turnaround was only possible only after they had taken a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror after their six-try beating by Leinster at Franklin's Gardens last weekend.

A week later, they turned a 7-40 home hammering into a magnificent 18-9 triumph at the Aviva Stadium to throw qualification in Pool One wide open once again.

"It was unbelievable. We are a proud bunch and last week's performance was way off what we are about. A week is long time when you have been hammered by 40 points," said Hartley.

"We had a good look in the mirror and revisited a lot of fundamentals and I'd like to think we restored a little bit of faith in the shirt. Last week we focussed on the result too much.

"The pressure was off us today and we came here and simply focussed on the performance. We backed that up with our physicality and 80 minutes of intensity and it paid off.

"It was a hell of a win and a hell of a challenge. We got bullied on our own pitch last week so we came here with a big focus on the tackle area and it paid off.

"The result wasn't the most important thing for us it was the performance and so we kept on trying to play."

Four-time champions Leinster still lead Pool One, but only by four points from Saints. They still have to travel to face French champions Castres and have to receive Pro12 bogey side Ospreys in Dublin.

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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10