Saints taking lessons from French giants ahead of Saracens clash

Toulon celebrate after beating Saracens in last Saturday's Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium

Toulon celebrate after beating Saracens in last Saturday's Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium

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Jim Mallinder says Saints are taking lessons from both Clermont Auvergne and Toulon as they bid to topple Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday.

Clermont were eviscerated 46-6 by Sarries at English rugby HQ in the Heineken Cup semi-finals.

But Toulon fared far better against Mark McCall’s men, claiming a 23-6 victory in last Saturday’s Heineken Cup final.

And Mallinder has been taking pointers from both of those games as Saints seek a first Premiership title this weekend.

“We try to take lessons out of how Clermont and how Toulon both played against Saracens,” said the director of rugby, who knows his team can ill afford the kind of slow start they have overcome in recent triumphs against Leicester or Bath.

“Sarries are very, very good and even harder to beat once they get ahead. Clermont showed that when you go a few points behind and start to overplay against them you play into their hands.

“We want to start well. We don’t go out with the intention of not starting well, but what we have shown is that belief and fitness levels and strength in the squad that we can play for the full 80 minutes. We’ve done that in the past few games now.

“You look at our 23 and we are strong. We could name a number of players who could start easily and some of those players will be coming off the bench and hopefully bringing us home.”