Northampton Saints - Tough clash ahead

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the Northampton Saints team are prepared for a tough challenge against the Scarlets when the two teams clash at the Parc y Scarlets tomorrow afternoon.

The Scarlets ended the Saints’ four-and-a-half year unbeaten home European run when they came to Franklin’s Gardens in November and are on something of a roll having taken the points from their last three Pro12 games.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

But the Saints will make the return trip on the back of a four-match winning streak that includes last Friday’s win over Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders, Harlequins, and Mallinder is keen for this momentum to continue through the next two rounds of the Heineken Cup.

“We’re very keen to put November’s result right,” Mallinder said this week. “We were very disappointed with what was our worst performance of the season. But we’ve put that behind us and hopefully learned some lessons which we can put into practice this weekend.

“We contributed massively to all four tries they scored at Franklin’s Gardens. We made the mistakes, but they took their opportunities well and we’ve got to cut out the error rate and not gift them any tries.

“They’re a good side with a big, tough pack and they like to move the ball as well. Rhys Priestland has a good kicking game but can get the outside backs into the action too and we’ve got to stop them playing.

“But we’re happy with our own momentum and want to keep that going over the next couple of weeks to give ourselves a chance of getting into the Amlin Challenge Cup knockout stages.

“We’re definitely going to Llanelli to win.”

Tom Wood does not make the trip after aggravating a knock to the foot sustained earlier in the season. However the Saints welcome back Calum Clark to the team, with Tom May, Vasily Artemyev, Stephen Myler, Martin Roberts and Brian Mujati all starting against the Welsh outfit.

Saints supporters who are not making the trip to Wales can follow the action in a number of ways. The Saints’ official Facebook page will have the usual match blog, while the club’s Twitter feed will post score updates every 10 minutes. Alternatively supporters can tune into BBC Radio Northampton or watch the game live on Sky Sports 1.

Northampton Saints: Foden, Ashton, Pisi, May, Artemyev, Myler, Roberts, Tonga’uiha, Hartley, Mujati, Manoa, Sorenson, Clark, Dowson, Wilson. Reps: Haywood, Waller, Doran-Jones, Day, Nutley, Dickson, Lamb, Armstrong.