Van Velze backing Saints to stun Saracens in Milton Keynes

STILL CONFIDENT - Gerrit-Jan van Velze (right) Picture: Linda Dawson
STILL CONFIDENT - Gerrit-Jan van Velze (right) Picture: Linda Dawson

South African No.8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze says there’s no reason why Saints can’t beat Saracens on Sunday.

Van Velze was in the Northampton side which suffered an 18-9 defeat to Premiership champions Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday.

The boot of Nick Evans decided that one as the Kiwi kicker landed six penalties to secure the victory for his team.

The result pushed Saints down to fifth in the Premiership standings, while this weekend’s opponents Sarries continue to fly high in second after battering Bath 22-0 at The Rec last Saturday.

But van Velze retains belief in his side and he feels they can triumph at stadium:mk this weekend if they hit the levels expected of them.

“We’ve got very high standards and we want to keep to them,” said the former Blue Bulls forwards.

“We don’t want to go two steps forward and one step back so we’ll work on our performances and standards and there’s no reason to think it won’t go right on Sunday.”

Though Sunday’s clash is technically a Saracens home game, Saints have been handling ticket sales and are expected to take thousands of fans to Milton Keynes.

Van Velze is looking forward to receiving big backing from the Franklin’s Gardens faithful and he is relishing the renewal of rivalry with Sarries.

“It’s always nice when there’s familiar faces in the stands and you can hear the chanting,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get a full house and it’s going to be a big derby.”

And van Velze knows exactly what Saints need to do to flay the Fezheads this weekend.

He said: “Saracens are very physical, they defend very well, they’ve got good line speed and they play off our errors so we need to look after the ball and just be physical and in their faces.”