Mallinder expects tough weekend ahead

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that this coming weekend’s action will be another good test of the squad ahead of the first Guinness Premiership match against Worcester in just over a fortnight’s time.

The Saints face two pre-season matches inside 24 hours this weekend. On Friday evening they travel to Nottingham and then host Super 14 outfit Western Force at lunchtime on Saturday.

Mallinder says that the games are exactly what the squad needs for the next step of their preparation for the rigours of life in the Guinness Premiership.

“We need to give as many of our players as possible game time in the build-up to the Premiership,” he said today. “But they also need to be playing against tough opposition. That was why we went to France and why we are playing Nottingham and the Force this weekend.

“Nottingham pushed us all the way in National League One last season. Their forwards were some of the most streetwise and proficient we faced last season and have strengthened their squad over the summer.

“The Force have brought over some of the most exciting young players in Australian rugby and have had some good results so far on their UK tour.

“We will be approaching both games in the same way, no matter who is in our playing squad that day. We had a good start against Clermont Auvergne and the pressure is now on for all of the players to make the next step this weekend.”

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