Saints chief Mallinder eager to silence Saracens in play-off grudge match

NORTHAMPTON boss Jim Mallinder admits his team have special motivation for getting one over on Saracens when the two teams collide in the Premiership play-offs.

The two teams have been involved in some full-blooded clashes already this season, with Sarries prevailing in both league clashes and Saints beating them twice in the LV= Cup.

If that was not enough, relations between the clubs also reached an all-time low in a dispute over prop Soane Tonga’uiha, who reneged on an agreement to join Saracens next season in favour of staying at Franklin’s Gardens.

What is firing Mallinder the most, however, is the memory of Brendan Venter’s men celebrating on his turf after edging a hard-fought 28-27 thriller last month.

“That hurt, hearing them singing as if they had won the league,” said Mallinder. “For us, you can take motivation from a lot of things, and we are eagerly looking forward to that game next weekend now.

“We’ve had close games against them this season. They are playing well – they played very well when they came to our place – and they’ve just won against Leicester. It will be an almighty battle, but we think we have a side to win that game.”

Semi-finals, Sunday 16 May
Leicester v Bath, 4pm
Northampton v Saracens, 1:30pm

Final, Saturday 29 May
Twickenham, 3pm