Early European exit can aid Saints in final, says Myler

FEELING FRESH - Stephen Myler says tiredness won't be an issue for Saints in the Premiership grand final (picture by Linda Dawson)
FEELING FRESH - Stephen Myler says tiredness won't be an issue for Saints in the Premiership grand final (picture by Linda Dawson)

Stephen Myler believes Saints’ early European exit can help them avoid more final heartache when they head to Twickenham on Saturday.

Northampton were eliminated from this season’s Heineken Cup at the pool stages after suffering defeats to Ulster, Castres and Glasgow.

There was to be no repeat of the run they enjoyed during the 2010/11 season, when Saints got to the final, eventually losing out in agonising fashion to Leinster.

On that occasion, tiredness was cited as a major reason for the failure to convert a 22-6 half-time lead at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

But, with no Heineken Cup or LV= Cup travails on their mind this time round, fly-half Myler feels his men are fresh enough to give all they’ve got against Leicester in the grand final.

“It didn’t go our way in the Heineken Cup this year, we didn’t make the quarters, but on the plus side of that we have had weekends off where we’re staying that little bit fresher,” he said.

“Heineken Cup year (2010/11) we pretty much had the same 15 playing every game from January. We had a brutal semi-final at Leicester the week before that and things took their toll. For one reason or another we fell short.

“We can’t use that as an excuse this year. We’re fresh, we had a good win at Saracens and it’s time for one last effort to make sure we win that trophy.”

Leicester, who did reach the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, bowing out at Toulon, have been handed the favourites tag for the Premiership showpiece.

Richard Cockerill’s men have won the past seven meetings between the sides, including a 36-8 victory at Franklin’s Gardens in March.

But Myler insists Saints have got every chance of claiming the league crown, especially if they can replicate the form that saw them slay Saracens in the semi-finals.

“We’re not there to make up the numbers,” he said. “We made the top four for a reason.

“Halfway through the year we were struggling. We weren’t necessarily guaranteed that spot, but we worked really hard and we’ve played some good rugby in the second half of the season.

“Aside from the Leicester game, where we let ourselves down, we’ve earned our way into it and we think we were written off unfairly.

“We’ve got full confidence in our ability. We were underrated at Saracens, but it wasn’t a shock to us, the fact we could go there and turn them over. It was more of a shock to other people.”