Saints centre Burrell can’t wait to sample semi-final action

EXCITEMENT BUILDING - Luther Burrell can't wait for Saints' play-off semi-final clash with Saracens (picture by Linda Dawson)
EXCITEMENT BUILDING - Luther Burrell can't wait for Saints' play-off semi-final clash with Saracens (picture by Linda Dawson)
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Luther Burrell admits he’s like a kid at Christmas as he prepares to sample his first Premiership play-off semi-final.

The big centre moved to Saints from Sale last summer, looking to get a taste of the big time.

And the switch has paid off, as while the Sharks have been swimming against the tide at the bottom of the table, Burrell is getting set for a final four showdown at Saracens on Sunday.

Much will be expected of the 25-year-old, who has shown a real appetite for tries this season, scoring eight in 18 appearances, and three in his past three games.

And he can’t wait to get into Saracens in the heat of a semi-final clash.

“For me it’s an experience I’ve never had before,” said Burrell.

“I’ve never been at a club that’s played in a semi-final so there’s a bit of a buzz going round and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ll be exactly that (a kid at Christmas). I can’t wait to be involved with the team on Sunday.”

And he added: “The reason why I’m here is to be a part of a top four club and be playing in games like this.

“For us, getting knocked out of the Heineken Cup when we did, our focus was the league and it’s shown with our recent form.

“This is the reason why I’m here, the reason I signed, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Saints have been involved in five previous Premiership play-off semis, losing all five, including three in the past three seasons.

And while Burrell is one of few who have yet to be involved in the pressure cooker environment of a semi-final showdown, he knows what to expect.

“It’s going to be massive,” he said. “The atmosphere is going to be insane. It’s going to be about me trying to stay composed and not getting too drawn into the occasion.

“I need to focus on what I’ve got to do.”

Burrell is desperate to help Saints banish bad memories of past semi-final disappointment, including the gut-wrenching defeat at Harlequins last season.

Jim Mallinder’s men were 23-15 up at The Stoop last May, only to ship 10 points in the final 10 minutes to lose 25-23.

Quins went on to beat Leicester in the final and claim the title, leaving Saints wondering what might have been.

And Burrell said: “We’re at a stage now where it’s knockout rugby, there are no second chances.

“Saints came so close last year and I was watching it on TV and watching them lose in the last few minutes to Harlequins.

“It’s about going one step further and hopefully we can this time round.

“It is surreal now for me to be experiencing that sort of thing at the weekend and if I can help the boys get to the final it would be a dream come true.

“As a young lad you dream of playing in Premiership semi-finals and finals, so if we can get there it would be great.”