Skipper Hartley says Saints have to ‘step it up’ in Europe

DISAPPOINTED - Saints skipper Dylan Hartley
DISAPPOINTED - Saints skipper Dylan Hartley
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Dylan Hartley has urged Saints to ‘step it up’ as they bid to put Saturday’s Champions Cup disappointment behind them.

Jim Mallinder’s men suffered a 20-11 defeat to Racing Metro in the Pool 5 curtain-raiser in Colombes.

The Top 14 side snatched a late try and landed the conversion to ensure Saints would return home with nothing to show for their sizeable efforts.

And Hartley is now desperate to ensure similar disappointment is avoided this Saturday, when Ospreys head to Franklin’s Gardens for a crucial clash.

“We went from chasing the game, to being able to draw the game and then to a point where we had a losing bonus point and then it was all taken away from us,” said the Saints skipper of the defeat to Racing.

“We did say in this tournament you’ve got to pick something up away from home and at the weekend we got nothing so it is frustrating.

“We’re just going to have to step it up and get points elsewhere now.”

When Phil Dowson scored with five minutes to go, Saints had their sights set on earning at least a draw.

But Stephen Myler’s missed conversion, allied with the late Racing try and kick, produced disappointment.

And Hartley said: “A draw would have been fair. We didn’t play our best rugby, but when it counted we scored a try to draw the game and unfortunately that kick didn’t go our way.

“I don’t think we played our best rugby but it is hard away from home. The French are very, very proud on home soil and we saw that from them.”