Ma’afu says Premiership leaders Saints are there to be shot at

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Salesi Ma’afu says Saints are there to be shot at after going top of the Aviva Premiership table last weekend.

Jim Mallinder’s men took advantage of Saracens’ slip-up against London Irish, seeing off Exeter at Sandy Park to go one point clear at the summit.

Next up for Saints is a game against bottom side Worcester at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (ko 3pm), with the bookies struggling to find any support for the visiting team.

But Australian prop Ma’afu is not getting too carried away with his side’s standing, and knows opposition outfits will be desperate to destroy their nine-match winning streak.

“We’re at the top now and we’ve become a target and everyone’s going to be trying to shoot us down,” said the Australian prop.

“For us as a team we’re not happy with being here in February, we want to be here at the end of the season and still be going strong. It’s a long way between now and then and it all starts this weekend against Worcester.”

Worcester have lost all 13 of their Premiership games this season, but pushed champions Leicester close last weekend, eventually falling to a 23-22 defeat at Sixways.

And that showing has acted as a shot in the arm for Saints, who have not been beaten in the league since the defeat to Gloucester at Kingsholm on September 21.

“Worcester played with a lot more confidence against Leicester than they had shown before,” said Ma’afu.

“They will take a lot from last week and they will look at a few areas to improve and bring that and more this weekend.

“We understand where they’re coming from and we know we’ve got to stop them early and deny them any momentum. We know they will be a dangerous team if they are allowed to gain confidence.”