Saints new boy Paterson knows what is expected in Europe

Michael Paterson is hoping to help Saints secure more memorable wins in Europe (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Michael Paterson is hoping to help Saints secure more memorable wins in Europe (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints’ summer recruits don’t need to go far for an education about big European nights at their new club.

The walls of the inner sanctum at Franklin’s Gardens are emblazoned with pictures of key memories from recent years.

From Phil Dowson and Tom Wood lifting the Amlin Challenge Cup, to the strained face of Jamie Elliott summoning up the energy for a last-gasp score in the win at Leinster in 2013 - Saints have got plenty of good times to reflect on.

There have of course been bad nights, like the humbling home defeats to Ulster and Leinster.

But when approaching a new campaign, it is best to look back on the positives rather than the negatives.

And Michael Paterson, who joined Saints from Sale Sharks during the summer, knows just what will be expected of his new team when Scarlets come calling in the first game of this season’s Champions Cup at the Gardens on Saturday night.

“I’ve played against Northampton when I was at Cardiff Blues and they were obviously a tough outfit,” said the lock.

“Hopefully we can replicate some of that form against Scarlets on Saturday night.”

The encounters Paterson speaks of were when Cardiff Blues lost to Saints in the pool stages during the 2010/11 season, when Jim Mallinder’s men won every game on their way to reaching the final, where they lost in agonising fashion to Leinster.

Clarifying, he said: “It was when Courtney Lawes got taken out by Xavier Rush, but it wasn’t a good hunting ground for Cardiff Blues then, but all good for the Saints.

“Whenever you played against a Saints team they were always a tough opposition and everyone raises their game for it.

“Being in the shirt now, you’ve really got to step up and make sure you’ve got your job sorted out because if you haven’t, you’ll come off second best.

“Saints are a successful club, winning the Premiership two years ago, and although success isn’t going to come overnight, we’ve got to take the opportunities when they arise and make sure we put teams to the sword.”

While Paterson has experience of facing Saints teams of old, he has also locked horns with Scarlets before.

He said: “Having played in the Pro12, I’ve faced them home and away and they are a good outfit.

“They’ve got some recent success, sitting third in their league, and they’ve got some good guys coming back from the World Cup.

“They’ve got a good set piece and they will throw the ball about, so we’ve got to be on our game.”

Paterson could come up against Wales star Jake Ball in the second row on Saturday.

And the Saints man said: “He’s a big woolly mammoth, I guess.

“He’s a good player and he’s come on leaps and bounds at Scarlets so we’ll have to be on our mettle.”