Playing pretty rugby won’t work against Bath, says Saints centre Burrell

UP FOR THE FIGHT - Luther Burrell brushes off Bath players in Saints' win at Franklin's Gardens in December (Picture: Linda Dawson)

UP FOR THE FIGHT - Luther Burrell brushes off Bath players in Saints' win at Franklin's Gardens in December (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Luther Burrell believes avoiding attractive rugby will be the best way of unlocking Bath and earning Saints a big win on Friday night.

The Recreation Ground battle promises to be an enthralling one with the race for a top-two place in the Aviva Premiership now nearing its conclusion.

Second-placed Saints sit seven points clear of Bath in third and know a win this week will secure a home play-off semi-final.

But Burrell recognises just how difficult it will to be return to Northampton with the win and says a direct style will serve his team best.

“Bath are a huge threat,” said the England centre. “They’ve got quality running through the whole squad and Mike Ford has done a fantastic job with the team down there.

“He’s got them playing a variety of rugby and you’ve just got to look at their backline, with (George) Ford and (Jonathan) Joseph back in the picture now.

“They’ve got (Matt) Banahan and (Nick) Abendanon, some world class players there. It’s not an easy place to go either so we know we’re going to have to be on our game.

“We’ve had a good few days’ training, we’ve watched a lot of footage of them and hopefully we can go down there and stick to our gameplan.

“It’s away rugby so we’re not going to do anything pretty. We’re going to be direct and try to get our gameplan into the game and put them to the sword by getting at them as early as possible.”

Burrell is fresh and raring to go for Friday night’s game, having been limited to an appearance off the bench in the 18-10 Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final win against Harlequins last Friday.

It was a welcome rest for the player who starred for England during the Six Nations, but he is now keen to start as many games as possible as the season draws to its conclusion.

“I’m just really enjoying my rugby,” he said. “This is the most rugby I’ve played in my whole career and I’m just really grateful that the coaches are persisting with me and they’ve got the faith in me to keep pushing on.

“My body feels good, I feel good and I’m just loving my rugby at the moment. I’m loving my time at Northampton, it’s a great club and who am I to try to complain that I’m playing too much rugby?”