Lovell Rugby Interview Northampton Saints and England Hooker Dylan Hartley (In association with X Blades)

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His sides most recent victory leave them sat just behind leaders Saracens at the top of the Aviva Premiership so it is no surprise that Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley is optimistic about the rest of the 2013/14 season. The hooker has been leading by example for the Saints and will look to take his club form with him into England’s Six Nations campaign. England will surely be looking to go one better than last year and have their sites set on winning the competition.

We had the opportunity to ask Hartley a few questions about how his season was going along with some other rugby related questions. Check out what he had to say:

How is the season going so far?

Domestically, really well. We are currently sat in 2nd in the Aviva Premiership and have wins against all the top 4 sides which gives us confidence. We fully understand we are only halfway through the season and will need to stay at the top of our game and keep improving to be genuine contenders come play-off time.

How did you find the recent Autumn Internationals?

A great test. A good hit marker in terms of where we are as a team. Some really positive performances from the team and for individuals, which is great for our mindset leading into the Six Nations and further down the track to RWC2015.

X Blades Legend Speed Rugby Boots, as worn by Dylan Hartley, are available to order at Lovell Rugby

Are you looking forward to the upcoming Six Nations?

Definitely. The Heineken Cup matches we have played and the ones over the next 2 weeks serve as good preparation. In terms of physicality, intensity and atmosphere they’re as close to internationals as any other games.

How long have you been X Blades?

This is my first season as an X blades boy.

What style of X Blades do you wear?

Legend speed. I don’t know if me and speed go together but they’re comfortable and light on my feet. Being studded boots I can adjust to long studs in the wet to make sure I’m helping in the scrum too!!!

X Blades Legend Speed Rugby Boots, as worn by Dylan Hartley, are available to order at Lovell Rugby

What do you look for in a pair of boots?

First and foremost is performance which goes in partnership with comfort. I have wide feet and the kangaroo leather moulds nicely to my foot. So if my feet are comfortable I give myself the best chance to perform!

Do you prefer white/coloured boots?

Traditionally front rowers wore high ankled black boots. The game has evolved on the pitch hugely and that’s been mirrored off it also. I think there’s every colour of the rainbow on the market now and even funkier boots like the Wild Things. It’s probably harder to get black boots nowadays. I’m sure there’s a few front row traditionalists out there who boot polish over all brandings!!

How many pairs of boots do you go through a season?

About 1 pair a month. Luckily X Blades keep me well stocked! I like to give them away to kids after a game when I’m done. I remember getting a sock off one of my rugby heroes when I was a kid. The impact of a singular smelly wet sock had on my rugby dreams was huge. So hopefully a pair of boots can inspire someone!

X Blades Legend Speed Rugby Boots, as worn by Dylan Hartley, are available to order at Lovell Rugby

Any advice for young Hookers?

All eyes are on you. Like a goal kicker your game will be judged on throwing success and hooking at scrum time. So, practice your throwing!

Toughest Opponent?

Bismarck du Plessis of South Africa. His all round game is very good and he’s a big athlete.

Favourite ground?

Franklin’s Gardens of course, where the Saints go marching in! They also do a cracking hog roast ; )

What do you do to relax in between Rugby?

I enjoy a lot of things. Friends, food, coffee, being outdoors, cooking, new places, new people, art, reading and travel are just a few. I save my travel adventures for the summer though as we don’t get much time in season!

The X Blades Legend Speed 6 Stud SG Rugby Boots White/Red are available to order from Lovell Rugby

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