‘Phenomenal’ Saints can claim Premiership glory, says Pountney

FULL OF PRAISE - Budge Pountney believes Saints now have a 'phenomenal' squad at their disposal

FULL OF PRAISE - Budge Pountney believes Saints now have a 'phenomenal' squad at their disposal

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Budge Pountney believes Saints’ Premiership final disappointment can help them finish the job this season.

The former Scotland international, who played 104 games for Northampton between 1997 and 2003, feels his old club now possess a ‘phenomenal squad’.

And he is full of belief that they have the right blend to win a big trophy for the first time since his side’s Heineken Cup triumph in 2000.

Saints made it to the Premiership showpiece in May, only to suffer a 37-17 defeat to local rivals Leicester Tigers.

But Pountney said: “It will make them even more hungry, considering what happened in the final last season. They’ll feel it’s business unfinished.

“They’ve been in a European Cup final recently (2011), they’ve been in the Premiership final and I’m sure they’ll have a massive amount of determination to ride this year.

“They’ve got a phenomenal squad, they really have. They’ve got a great fan base that travels really well and always pull up at the home games. Everything is right for the club.

“They’ve got a great coaching setup and they’ve just got to keep going, keep improving and making the right signings. They’ve also got to nurture that talent that’s coming up through the ranks as well.

“It’s a tough one for them because they’ve missed out on two massive trophies in the past few years but they’ll a huge amount of determination this year to succeed.”

One signing that should help them do be successful is Wales and British & Irish Lions star George North.

The wing has been in wonderful form for the Lions in Australia this summer and Pountney, who has watched the games on television, has been hugely impressed with the new Saint’s showings.

“George North has been phenomenal,” said the former flanker, who has recently taken up a role as coach of National Two South club Bournemouth Lions. “He’s played extremely well.

“He’s been the go-to guy for the Lions when they’ve been in trouble and the ability to carry the ball and the defender was quite remarkable. And the ability to spear tackle himself was, again, incredible.

“Hopefully he doesn’t do that too many times for Northampton. But he’s bringing the experience into the club and that will be invaluable.

“North and (Alex) Corbisiero are two really good signings and hopefully they’ll make the team stronger than they have been this year.”