Tom Vickers’ Exeter v Saints preview: LV= Cup progression is a must

GAME TIME - James Craig (Picture: Linda Dawson)
GAME TIME - James Craig (Picture: Linda Dawson)

The LV= Cup may not be the most prestigious prize in rugby, but Saints can gain plenty from it should they collect the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow this season.

A bonus-point victory at Exeter on Saturday would make sure of the club’s place in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh competition for the fourth time in fifth seasons.

And going all the way to Sixways can inspire real acceleration as the campaign reaches its conclusion.

With Jim Mallinder’s men out of Europe, a couple of extra games could be welcome.

They will get two weekends off in April and should they be eliminated from the LV= Cup, they will have the same in March.

That would surely be no good as the team looks to build momentum going into the final flings of the campaign, as four weekends of inaction would see a complete lack of consistency.

And what Saints need now after a patchy end to 2012, but a good start to 2013 is momentum.

They don’t want to be having too many weekends away from the action, being put through their paces by the notorious Nick Johnston on the paddock.

There’s no substitute for the real thing.

Players like James Craig, who attended the press day this week, are certainly keen for Saints to get through as the competition is ideal for squad players looking to get game time.

Men such as Luther Burrell and Alex Waller are kept fresh and mentally sharp by playing and progression can only be a good thing.

So if Saints are on-song - a la their full-back and Ben Foden - this weekend, a win will not be the only reward.