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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Northampton Saints captain Hartley braced for Munster

Munster game like an international - Hartley

Northampton Saints' Dylan Hartley says they must be physically and mentally at their best to compete with Munster.

The 23-year-old leads his side into a crucial Heineken Cup match at Thomond Park on Friday, with Saints below the Irish champions in their pool.

Hartley told BBC Radio Northampton: "You don't get many bigger occasions than this. This is close to or the same as an international match.

"If you don't turn up physically and mentally, there's no point."

He added: "It'll be a tight game, but there's no better stage for players."

Hartley was involved in the 31-27 win over Munster at Franklin's Gardens earlier in the season.

"They had a lot of players back from the Lions tour that week, and two or three months later they're a lot more seasoned," he said.

"I've got a lot of respect for the Munster pack. They're internationals and have played together a long time.

"But I look at my pack, there are internationals either side of me and we're fit and mobile.

"Head to head, it's going to be tough."

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see also
Northampton 34-0 Perpignan
17 Jan 10 |  Northampton
Treviso 18-21 Northampton
19 Dec 09 |  Northampton
Northampton 30-18 Treviso
12 Dec 09 |  Northampton
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Heineken Cup 2009/10
22 Dec 09 |  Rugby Union

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