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Saints skipper Dylan Hartley admits club in a 'hole'

Northampton Saints skipper Dylan Hartley says that, after five straight defeats, the club is in a "hole".

The Franklin's Gardens outfit have slipped from the top of the Premiership in September to tenth spot after a run of only one win from their last nine matches in all competitions.

Friday's 22-24 home defeat to Newcastle left the Saints eight points adrift of fourth-placed Bath in the standings and unlikely to make the play-offs, unless they can dramatically turn their season around.

"At the moment every week's difficult. Our focus is going to be 'be brilliant at basics'," said Hartley.

"I see a group that obviously realise where we are, but I see a group that knows where we want to go as well."

Northampton's only win in their past nine matches was an Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Dragons, but Hartley believes the players possess what it takes to climb out of the trough.

"We're in a hole and the only way is to look up," England captain Hartley told BBC Radio Northampton.

"We've got to climb out, we've got to find a way and when that victory comes it's going to be a sweet one.

"I wholeheartedly believe in the squad, fully. We've got the people, I won't question the guys' commitment."

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