Mallinder admits champions Saints are ‘there to be aimed at’

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Jim Mallinder knows Saints will be up against it when they begin their Aviva Premiership title defence against Gloucester.

The champions host the Cherry and Whites on Friday, September 5 and will look to get off to the best possible start as they bid to retain their crown.

Saints, who beat Saracens in the Premiership play-off final in May, face only one of last season’s top four, Bath, in the first six weeks of the new campaign.

But Mallinder feels every side will challenge his team, as they now have a target placed firmly on their back.

“It will be exciting to start the 2014/15 season under the lights on a Friday night and at home at Franklin’s Gardens,” said the director of rugby.

“The last time we played at home was the Aviva Premiership semi-final and if we can start next season in the same type of atmosphere as we finished 2013/14 then it will be tremendous.

“Gloucester have made a lot of changes behind the scenes this summer, and it will be an exciting test.

“We know that as champions we are there to be aimed at and that every team we play will raise their game against us.”