Saracens v Northampton Saints: Tom Vickers' big match preview

Fixture: Saracens v Northampton Saints

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 20th May 2022, 12:23 pm
Saints celebrated after securing a memorable and crucial win against Harlequins last time out
Saints celebrated after securing a memorable and crucial win against Harlequins last time out

Competition: Gallagher Premiership

Venue: StoneX Stadium, London

Date and kick-off time: Saturday, May 21, 2022, 5.30pm

Weather forecast: 19, cloudy

Live television coverage: BT Sport 1

Referee: Matthew Carley

Saracens: Goode; Maitland, Daly, Tompkins, Segun; Farrell, Davies; M Vunipola, George, Koch; Itojoe, Isiekwe; McFarland, Earl, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Lewis, Adams-Hale, Clarey, Hunter-Hill, Wray, van Zyl, Lozowski, Lewington.

Saints: Furbank; Freeman, Proctor, Dingwall, Skosan; Biggar, Mitchell; Iyogun, Haywood, Painter; Coles, Ratuniyarawa; Lawes, Hinkley, Ludlam (c).

Replacements: Matavesi, Waller, Hill, Moon, Nansen, James, Hutchinson, Sleightholme.

Not considered for Saints selection: Matthew Arden, Juarno Augustus, Conor Carey, Teimana Harrison, Ollie Newman, David Ribbans, Tom Wood.

Most recent meeting: Sunday, January 2, 2022: Saints 6 Saracens 30 (Gallagher Premiership)

Tom's preview: If you've been lying in a dark room for the past few weeks, trying to comprehend the craziness you saw against Bath and Harlequins, it's time to get up and get ready for more.

Because Saints are back in action on Saturday evening, so strap yourselves in and get set for another roller coaster ride.

Boss Chris Boyd will be hoping thrills rather than spills are the order of the day as he tries to steer his side into the Gallagher Premiership play-offs for the second time during his tenure.

But Saints know they still have plenty of work to do to achieve that aim, as they first travel to a formidable Saracens side this Saturday.

It is set to be a pivotal day because Gloucester take on Harlequins at Twickenham a couple of hours earlier.

Saints would dearly love a favour from Quins to give them the chance to go into the game at Saracens with a little less pressure.

But whether they will even take in the result from the earlier game, it remains to be seen.

Because they know that this play-off race is currently in their hands and focusing on events elsewhere can do more harm than good.

Saints will need to put all of their attention on trying to get a win at Saracens.

They have done it in years gone by, most notably under the 'why not us?' banner back in 2013, when they caused a huge upset in the Premiership play-off semi-finals.

And the black, green and gold have already won at the StoneX Stadium this season, in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

But the two teams that take to the field this weekend will be vastly different to the ones that trotted out that day.

And Saints know just how strong Saracens are, having been kept in their iron grip at the Gardens back in January.

Boyd's boys actually gave as good as they got for 40 minutes in that match, going in level at half-time at 6-6.

But Saracens showed their ability to defend for long spells and eventually took their chances with typically ruthless efficiency as they walked away with a trademark away win.

Saints will need to find a way to stretch them more this weekend, but they should be buoyed by five successive Gallagher Premiership successes.

They have shown a bit of everything during that incredible run, from the good to the bad to the ugly.

But the prevailing theme has been immense character.

No matter how bad the situation has got, Saints have found a way to bounce back and keep their Premiership title dreams alive.

And they must continue in that manner this weekend.

Tom's prediction: Saints have the talent to cause Saracens problems, but the hosts will be extremely strong and may just have too much here. Saracens 27 Saints 18.