Tom Vickers’ Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors preview

Saints shouldn’t have needed too many reminders of what Worcester are capable of – but if they did, they certainly got one last Friday.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 14th February 2014, 1:06 pm
TOUGH DAY - Samu Manoa scored as Saints overcame a half-time deficit to win at Worcester in November (Picture: Linda Dawson)
TOUGH DAY - Samu Manoa scored as Saints overcame a half-time deficit to win at Worcester in November (Picture: Linda Dawson)

The winless Warriors, a team with a league record that reads 13 games played, 13 games lost, gave Leicester Tigers a real scare.

There were points in the game at Sixways where you felt the Tigers might be put to the sword as Dean Ryan’s men started to show their teeth.

In the end, the champions did as champions do, overcoming a poor performance to claim a narrow victory.

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But the warning signs were there and it was a cautionary tale for the Saints ahead of this weekend’s clash.

No one will give Worcester a chance of heading to the Gardens and getting anything.

Heck, why would they? History is stacked in Saints’ favour, with a mountain of statistics suggesting one outcome: a heavy home win.

Jim Mallinder’s men have won 11 of their 13 league games so far this season, collecting 51 points along the way. In contrast, Worcester have earned just four points, losing every game.

Saints are on a run of eight successive Premiership wins – nine in all competitions. Worcester are on a run of 18 successive Premiership defeats, failing to claim a victory since March 1, 2013.

Saints have not lost at home in the league since March 20, 2013. Worcester have lost their past 22 Premiership away games, equalling Rotherham’s record from 2000 to 2004.

Saints have not lost to Worcester at the Gardens since New Year’s Day, 2007. Worcester have only won one of the past nine meetings between the sides.

The statistics don’t lie, but it’s unlikely anyone at Saints will be making too many assumptions this weekend.

They were behind at half-time in the meeting between the two teams at Sixways in November, before their class eventually told in the second half.

They had a short, sharp shock at the interval and proceeded to show plenty of character to overcome a home side sensing it might just be their day.

Saints will not want a similar situation to arise this weekend. They will want to pile the pressure on early and ensure the Warriors don’t get any momentum.

When teams are down, you have to keep them there, otherwise there could be a sting in the tail.

Leicester almost suffered that fate last weekend.

Saints can’t say they haven’t been warned.