Apr 25, 2015
Northampton vs Saracens - Match Preview
In a rerun of last season’s Premiership final, Saracens face Northampton Saints in round 20.
The game will be staged at stadium:uk as it was in December 2012, when Saracens edged their rivals 17-16.
Saracens head into the clash on the back of valiant defeat to ASM Clermont Auvergne in the European Champions Cup semi-final. Despite the disappointment of missing out on a second successive final in Europe’s Premier club competition, Mark McCall’s men performed admirably in a cauldron of noise in Saint-Etienne. In the league Saracens have won their last four Aviva Premiership fixtures, having won their last ‘on the road’ fixture away to Wasps.
Northampton Saints’ only victory in their last five first team fixtures was 52-30 to Wasps in late March. The Saints have played four previous matches at stadium:mk winning the first two, against Ulster and Perpignan in the European Cup in 2011 but losing the last two in 2012 against Munster and Saracens.
Saracens captain, Brad Barritt: “This group is extremely ambitious and we’ve used last weekend’s disappointment (defeat to ASM Clermont Auvergne) as a galvanising force for the rest of the season. There’s obviously a Premiership title to play for and it starts this Saturday against Northampton, who are formidable opponents. We relish the challenge and we’re looking to bounce back after last Saturday’s result.
“It’s just great to be back. Obviously it’s been very frustrating, in the Six Nations I had three injuries on the bounce but the body is feeling really good, and feeling very good in the games. We have a huge amount to play for and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Northampton Saints flanker, Tom Wood: “Just because we’ve had a couple of disappointing performances and results, that doesn’t make us a bad team,” he told SaintsTV. “We know we still have the resources and capacity to go on and win the league if we get things right, but we’ll have to be a damn sight better than we have been.
“Now, when it really matters and the pressure is really on, hopefully it will bring out the best in us. We don’t need any extra psyching up for a game against Saracens, but it’s another good opportunity to play in a big stadium with a big atmosphere.”
- Northampton have won just one of their last three (D1, L1), equalling their worst run since Rounds 19-21 last year; however they won their next three games after that run to lift the Premiership trophy last season.
- Saracens have won both games they have played at stadium:mk. The beat Bristol 25-20 in 2008, and Northampton 17-16 in 2012.
- Saracens last meeting against the Saints, was the LV=Cup semi-final. Saracens won a nervy match-up, 24-20.
Man to Watch
The Scotland flanker’s performance against Leicester Tigers in Saracens’ last Premiership outing was sensational. Mr Perpetual Motion was at it again, with Brown topping the tackle count with 19 in a busy day for the Sarries defence. With fellow openside Jacques Burger performing so well in Europe, Brown’s improved form is another welcomed selection headache for Mark McCall.