Exclusive Interview with Dylan Hartley
Hawes & Curtis is extremely proud to be the official tailor to Northampton Saints Rugby Club. Founded in 1880, the club has been home to some of the world’s best players including Rugby World Cup winners and British and Irish Lions legends.
We caught up with the Northampton Saints hooker, Dylan, Hartley, who is currently England Captain. The New Zealand-born player was named Captain of England in 2016 and subsequently led England to a first Grand Slam in 13 years. He also captained England to a successful Six Nations title in 2017 alongside fellow Saints Courtney Lawes, Teimana Harrison and Tom Wood.
Here, Dylan Hartley joins us to talk exclusively about becoming England Captain, his rugby career and the official Northampton Saints formalwear from Hawes & Curtis.
Q. When did you move to the UK?
A. I moved to East Sussex in 2002 when I was 16 years old. I loved the idea of travelling and having new experiences so I thought it would be a good idea to do a school exchange. After the exchange program I stayed in the UK and played rugby for local teams.
Q. What would you be doing if you hadn’t gone into rugby?
A. My father is a builder and I always enjoyed hands-on work, so I probably would have left school and done an apprenticeship in the building trade. That was an option but then rugby gave me an avenue to see more of the world, so that’s the route I took.
Q. At what point did you decide to become a professional rugby player?
A. I didn’t choose to become a professional rugby player, it just happened. My professional rugby career began when I joined the Worcester Warriors academy before joining the Saints Senior Academy in the summer of 2005.
Q. Do you still consider yourself a Kiwi?
A. As an English rugby player and captain, I feel as English as I do Kiwi. I’m very proud of my roots because they form you as a person but the English side of my family have always been a strong influence in my life. I don’t think any of us can say we are pure British anymore – we’re all from here, there and everywhere. I’m proud of my roots but I’m very much English as well.
Q. How surprised were you when Eddie Jones asked you to be captain?
A. Very surprised!
Q. How did he ask you?
A. He asked me over breakfast – it wasn’t romantic! It was a business meeting and we talked rugby for a good hour; we discussed the team and the game and then towards the end he pitched it to me and I accepted!
Q. Have you changed now that you’re a captain?
A. Since I’ve been captain, I’ve taken more of an interest in personal development. I don’t think I’ve changed because I’ve always enjoyed the notion of self-improvement. Eddie has been mentoring me and developing me as a leader and I truly feel that he’s investing in me. As I’ve got older, I’ve matured and gained a lot of experience, so I know what has worked and hasn’t worked in terms of leadership. On-field, I’m constantly striving to be fitter and stronger and develop more skills.
Q. Does it alter your relationship with your teammates?
A. No, I don’t treat people any differently. As a captain, I think it’s important to really get to know your players and to make an effort to understand them and see how they’re feeling. I constantly try to speak to all my teammates throughout the week – it’s just one small gesture, but it’s extremely powerful.
Q. What do you like best about your official Northampton Saints formalwear from Hawes & Curtis?
A. I love the quality, fit and the detail of the suit. The accessories like the pins, the badges, the silk pocket squares and the cufflinks really pull the whole look together.
Q. Why is it important for your team to look their best?
A. Because we’re a team! When you’re winning, people don’t notice if some of your members aren’t wearing a full uniform and you can get away with the odd person wearing the wrong shoes. But when you’re losing, your team is under fire so you always need to be unified. Wearing a smart uniform sets a standard, and we drive high standards here. Dressing well is important, whether we’re on the rugby field or in the gym. If you cut corners with your appearance, you’re going to cut corners on the field. For me, getting ready for a game is about making sure my suit is dry-cleaned and packing my bag and boots – it’s all part of the preparation. If you’re not thinking about all the details, you’re not focussed –it’s a discipline.
Q. What motivates you?
A. Personal success and my family motivate me. I want to be able to provide myself and my family with a good life, exciting memories and special experiences. My little girl in particular motivates me!
Take a look behind the scenes at the 2017/18 Northampton Saints squad shot.