Hartley, who was due to compete with Hibbard for the Lions' hooking berth in Hong Kong and Australia before a lengthy ban for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes in the Aviva Premiership Final, believes that stopping the famous threesome will go a long way to halting Wales as a whole this weekend.
"We obviously look at talismen in other teams, I prefer to call them targets. That's not a joke," said Hartley. "You respect them because they provide a lot of momentum, but if you make them a target, it changes that.
"In every team it's the No8 who is the big go-forward man - David Denton, Louis Picamoles, Jamie Heaslip and now Toby Faletau. If you see a big man being stopped, psychologically that's huge.
"I look at my opposite number Hibbard - he's very powerful for them. They like to put Roberts up the middle of the field then Hibbard round the corner on a big strong carry. It's nothing complicated but they do it very well.
"They're very powerful blokes. I don't think you focus on them - it's not mindless targeting - but if you get an opportunity you always take it."
It was Wales who took their opportunities this time last year, though, as Warren Gatland and co crashed England's Grand Slam party with a stunning 30-3 success in Cardiff.
And while Hartley insists that revenge hasn't been the go-to word in the lead up to Sunday's enthralling encounter, the Northampton skipper does admit that fear of a repeat will play a part this time around.
"The talking point of revenge and of a grudge match is not something we talk about as players. That's more of a media hype around the game," added Hartley.
"If we get too caught up in the emotional side of the game, that's where we are going to come unstuck. We need to focus on how we're going to beat the Welsh and a lot of that is down to what we do in the week in terms of homework and then how we apply that at the weekend.
"But if you want a sticking point in this team's journey, that Welsh game is a good one: we don't want that to happen again. It's quite nice to have the fear of that happening again in the back of your head. That day in Wales was the complete, all-round poor performance and the lesson has been learned. I don't think we've seen anything like that since."
The intensity of that clash in Cardiff will live long in the memory for both players and supporters who were fortunate enough to be in the Millennium Stadium last March and Hartley is expecting something similar on Sunday.
England's Round 3 win over Ireland was an incredibly physical battle but Hartley is convinced that he and his fellow forwards need to be ready for something even more bruising when Wales turn up at Twickenham.
"It was intense against Ireland but, if anything, Wales will come with more emphasis on the physical side and the edge on which they pride themselves. You can't shy away from confrontation in rugby. As soon as one party concedes, it is pretty obvious."