Foden sets sights on elusive European silverware at Saints

Ben Foden scored to help Saints defeat Stade Franais in the Champions Cup play-off final (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Ben Foden scored to help Saints defeat Stade Franais in the Champions Cup play-off final (picture: Sharon Lucey)

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Ben Foden is desperate to deliver the one club trophy that has eluded him at Saints next season.

The 31-year-old has claimed Anglo-Welsh Cup, Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership glory since moving to Northampton from Sale Sharks in 2008.

But Foden, whose current Saints contract runs until next summer, has yet to win the Champions Cup, with the closest he has come being the heartbreaking final loss to Leinster in what was then the Heineken Cup in 2011.

Saints will look forward to another season in Europe’s top tier competition after progressing through the Champions Cup play-offs last month.

They beat Connacht and Stade Français at Franklin’s Gardens to make sure they would be in the draw.

And last week that draw was made, with Saints placed alongside last season’s Champions Cup finalists, Clermont Auvergne and champions Saracens, as well as Ospreys in Pool 2.

It is a tough task for Jim Mallinder’s men, but Foden has his sights firmly set on making the final, which will be held at the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, and winning it.

“It does mean a lot to be in the Champions Cup next season,” Foden said.

“It was sort of our minimum requirement we set out at the start of the year, but we mainly talk about putting ourselves in semi-finals and finals. That’s where we want to be.

“Once we knew our fate after the Quins game (on the final day of the Premiership regular season), it was our minimum requirement to qualify for Champions Cup rugby.

“I’m delighted we could do it because we want to be competing against the best teams in European competition.

“It’s still the one that has evaded me so it’s nice to have a chance to win it next year.

“We’ve got to do some hard work next year and graft over the summer to put ourselves in a better position than this year.

“But we’re a good squad with good players, good coaches and hopefully we can build on it and do something special next year.”