Northampton v NG Dragons LV=Cup preview

Northampton Saints got their defence of their Anglo Welsh LV= Cup title off and running with a dramatic late draw at Saracens on Sunday. Shane Geraghty’s last-minute try tied the score at 22-all, with scores from Regardt Dreyer and Paul Diggin ensuring that the Saints headed home having out-scored Saracens three tries to one.


But while he acknowledged the good feeling in the Saints camp that this result has instilled, director of rugby Jim Mallinder today said that a win is essential if the team is to remain competitive in the LV= Cup this season.


“Although we had a good result at Saracens on Sunday two other teams in our pool got bonus point wins, and we need to match that tomorrow to continue challenging for a semi-final spot,” he said.


“The team last week got us off to a positive start at Saracens and the squad has been in good spirits all week. Selection was very hard this week and everyone who has been chosen for the team knows what is expected of them.


“We have a home record that we are proud of and we want that to continue tomorrow evening.


“Dragons coach Paul Turner likes his teams to play an exciting brand of rugby, and they are coming to Northampton on the back of a good run of results, including an away win at the current Magners League champions.


“So it will be a tough game and we will need to be at our best to get a good result.”


Steve Jones will lead the Dragons while prop Dan Way has earned himself his first regional start following his strong performance against Gloucester last week.


Welsh stars Toby Faletau and Aled Brew have been released to the region, and will both start in the contest at Franklin’s Gardens.


Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner said “This has been a particularly difficult match for us to prepare for. The LV= Cup gives us a great chance to promote our dual-contracted players and blood them amongst our more experienced players. The success of players such as Adam Hughes this season demonstrates the importance of these opportunities.


“The fact that several of our players have had to play a mid-week game in the Premiership this week has not only meant that they have missed training with us but also puts them under pressure with some playing 3 games in 6 days.


“In conjunction with our Premiership clubs the Dragons have introduced development contracts designed to increase exposure to the professional game, the Dragons have a total of 22 young players involved in dual contract agreements.


“This initiative means we work very closely with our Premiership clubs and we see this as an important vehicle for developing future Regional and Welsh talent, the emergence of Toby Faletau is testament to this.


“We’re preparing for a tough match in Franklin’s Gardens. Northampton are the top side in England at the moment and that’s coming from a game against Gloucester who are also one of the biggest teams over the river.


“Notwithstanding these issues, I am confident that every player on the pitch will give total commitment to tomorrow night’s game.”


Match : Northampton Saints v NG Dragons
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens
Date : Friday, November 12th
Kick off : 7:45pm


Teams


Northampton Saints :15 Shane Geraghty , 14 Joe Ansbro , 13 Jon Clarke , 12 James Downey , 11 Paul Diggin , 10 Stephen Myler , 9 Ryan Powell , 1 Soane Tonga’uiha , 2 Brett Sharman, 3 Brian Mujati , 4 Mark Sorenson , 5 Christian Day , 6 Calum Clark , 7 Phil Dowson (capt) , 8 Mark Easter


Replacements , 16 Andy Long , 17 Alex Waller , 18 Tom Mercey , 19 Dan Sanderson , 20 Tom Wo

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