Saints determined not to ease off against Sale

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that there will not be any easing off for the club’s return to the Guinness Premiership this weekend.

The Saints face Sale Sharks on Saturday afternoon on the back of two Heineken Cup matches against Munster and Perpignan. But Mallinder says that his team will be punished if they think that a return to domestic competition will be easy.

“The Guinness Premiership is an intense competition and we cannot view it as a step down from Europe,” he said.


“If we do that we will be punished by a Sale team that has played well in the last couple of weeks.


“They beat Cardiff Blues last weekend and scored some good tries against Toulouse the week before that.


“Charlie Hodgson is one of the best playmakers in the league and he has plenty of strike runners outside him to use.


“Up front Sale have some powerful and experienced forwards, as well as youngsters like James Gaskell, who was man of the match last weekend.

“However we have plenty of positives from our recent performances to take into Saturday’s game and the players’ attitude in training this week has been very good.”

In addition to the suspended Juandre Kruger and Brian Mujati, Saints are without Santiago Bonorino, who picked up a knock in Perpignan last weekend.

Kick off 3:00pm

Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Chris Mayor, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Lee Dickson, 1 Regardt Dreyer, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt)
3 Soane Tonga’uiha, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Phil Dowson, 7 Neil Best, 8 Roger Wilson

Replacements, 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Jon Vickers, 19 Christian Day, 20 Mark Easter , 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Joe Ansbro

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