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Six Nations
Sean Fitzpatrick: 'Hartley is world-class'
ESPN Staff
March 8, 2014
Hartley has been in fine form for club and country © Getty Images

Ex-New Zealand hooker Sean Fitzpatrick has hailed Dylan Hartley as a "world-class" player for his show of resolve over the past year.

Hartley endured a tough end to the 2012-13 season as he was sent-off in the Aviva Premiership final and subsequently missed the British & Irish Lions tour. But he has started all three of England's 2014 Six Nations matches and has hit 100% of his lineouts in the past two Tests.

Fitzpatrick, who won 92 caps for New Zealand, told the Daily Express: "I take my hat off to Dylan Hartley. He had a difficult season last year but he has obviously gone away and analysed what he needed to do to get to the next level. He has come back and been one of the stand-out forwards of this Six Nations.

"People forget he's only 27 as he seems to have been around for years, but he has developed into a senior leader for England. When he's not there or been taken off, things haven't been going as well, which is a sign of the major influence he has on the team.

"That's what world-class players do - they have an influence on the game - and he's definitely doing that at the moment."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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