Alex Corbisiero: Saints must dig deeper to defend Premiership title
England international Alex Corbisiero says Northampton Saints must dig deep to defend Premiership title
Northampton Saints went the extra mile – and through extra time – to clinch the Aviva Premiership title last season but according to Alex Corbisiero, the champions must dig even deeper to defend their crown.
A knee injury put paid to much of Corbisiero’s debut year at Franklin’s Gardens but the prop returned just in time to play a role in a memorable run-in.
Fellow loosehead Alex Waller ground out the extra inch to bundle over the line and edge Saracens in May’s Aviva Premiership Final, after a recovering Corbisiero had put in an hour’s shift.
They might now be the club in everyone’s crosshairs but Corbisiero insists the foundations are in place for a second assault on the title – click here to see the official list of 2014-15 Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures.
It’s such a competitive league – there’s so many teams that have a realistic chance of winning it
And the 25-year-old has tipped a wounded Sarries and Bath Rugby – who came so close to returning to the play-offs for the first time since 2010 last season – as the two sides to be wary of the most.
“Being champions is a new position for us to be in but the culture we have means there’s no chance of complacency or taking our foot off the pedal,” said Corbisiero.
“We’re fully aware what it takes to win a competition like the Aviva Premiership and that should allow us to draw deeper from the well and bring our best this season.
“It’s such a competitive league – there’s so many teams that have a realistic chance of winning it.
“Losing in the final will fuel a fire under Saracens and they’ll come back with something to prove. With the quality they have and some of the signings they’ve made – they’ll be a tough test for anyone.
“I think Bath are another dangerous team – they’re on an upward curve, they’re moving in the right direction and they’ll be tough to beat.
“I feel fresh, I’ve come back hungry and I’ve got the fire lit under me and I’m ready to come back and achieve.
“After winning the Premiership and the Amlin (Challenge Cup) last year, we want to win the European Rugby
Champions Cup and trying to get our name on that trophy is going to drive everyone.
“It should be an exciting year for me and for the club.”
Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder has the luxury of a championship-winning squad to choose from and Corbisiero has backed Saints’ fringe players to take another forward step – particularly lock James Craig.
“We’ve got a big group of very well-established guys but we have some talented younger players breaking through as well,” he added.
“Tom Stephenson coming off the U20 World Cup, he looks like he could be a special player.
“But if I had to pick one to watch out for it would be James Craig – he’ll get some opportunities in the second row which will be exciting especially with Courtney Lawes being in the England squad.”