Dylan Hartley: New Zealand have upper hand over England

England hooker Dylan Hartley admits New Zealand have the edge on Red Rose ahead of World Cup next year

dylan hartley
Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley The Sport Review

Dylan Hartley admits New Zealand have the upper hand over England ahead of next year’s World Cup after the tourists’ 3-0 series defeat Down Under.

Hartley started in the front row in Saturday’s series-ending 36-13 defeat in Hamilton, despite having missed large parts of the Aviva Premiership season with injuries.

And the 28-year-old, born in Rotorua, says England missed an opportunity to land a blow on the All Blacks, meaning the rematch at Twickenham on November 8 will be all the more important.

Unfortunately that last Test is what we’ll be remembered for. The first two Tests don’t count because you’re only as good as your last game

Dylan Hartley

“There was more to this series than the results, there was also that psychological battle that we’d have liked to have won,” he said.

“The next time the All Blacks come to Twickenham it will be in their favour. That psychological battle ahead of the World Cup is key.

“If we’d picked up a result or had another good performance like we had in the last few Tests, that would have been nice going into Twickenham.”

Julian Savea scored a hat-trick in the rout, with a try from London Irish winger Marland Yarde and the boot of Gloucester Rugby’s Freddie Burns providing England’s only points.

And Hartley admits the encouraging performances of the first two Tests will be forgotten in the light of the third Test defeat.

“Unfortunately that last Test is what we’ll be remembered for. The first two Tests don’t count because you’re only as good as your last game,” Hartley said.

“It’s holiday time now and we have four weeks and a whole pre-season to dwell on our last game.

“In that first half we were just chasing shadows. Every opportunity they took and they played quickly and with intensity.

“All I remember is a wave of intensity and it was quick. I felt like every time we were in our 22 we conceded.

“It’s a disappointing finish to what was otherwise a good tour, a good first two weeks.”

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