Northampton Saints out for revenge, warns Lee Dickson
Northampton captain Lee Dickson warns Exeter to expect a Saints backlash ahead of Aviva Premiership clash
Northampton captain Lee Dickson has warned Exeter to expect a Saints backlash when the two sides meet in this weekend’s potentially decisive Aviva Premiership clash.
Following last weekend’s 21-35 home reverse against east Midlands rivals Leicester, Northampton must now win at Sandy Park on Sunday if they are to have any chance of overhauling the Chiefs to secure a third consecutive Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final appearance.
Even a win might not be enough for Northampton with Exeter currently two points clear of Dickson’s men with two games remaining.
But while last season’s Heineken Cup finalists failed to fire at home to Leicester last weekend Dickson insists lightning will not strike twice on Sunday.
“We’re bitterly disappointed with how we played but fortunately it remains in our own hands now,” said the scrum-half.
“We’ve got to go down to Exeter against a good team and really front up.
“We’ll make sure that this game will be a completely different story to last weekend. We’ll make sure we put right the things that didn’t go well and really put on a show for the fans that come down to Exeter with us.
“Any player at this club wants to win things and wants to be in that semi-final. Nothing else is acceptable and now it’s up to us to get a win next weekend and then beat Worcester.”
Northampton have enjoyed a good degree of success in the past few years having captured the National One title, the EDF Energy Trophy, the LV=Cup and the European Challenge Cup in the previous four seasons.
But while Heineken Cup final defeat against Leinster last term and an early exit at the group stage this year have left a sour taste in the mouths of most Saints players, prop Soane Tonga’uiha maintains there’s only trophy that the players really want.
“Winning the Premiership would mean a lot, not just for the players but the supporters, coaches and the club as a whole,” he said.
“They have never won the title or even been to the Premiership final. For us to get there and lift that trophy would be a massive, massive honour.
“It would prove all the hard work has paid off and it’d be payment for the fans for not giving up on us over the years, when we were in National One.
“It would make up for the last few years to be honest and it would definitely erase what happened in the Heineken Cup final.”
If you buy a ticket for this year’s Aviva Premiership Final on 26 May you will receive a free rugby shirt. Go to www.premiershiprugby.com/freeshirt to buy yours