Centurion Burrell fully believes Saints will push for top four

Luther Burrell is ready to help Saints bounce back (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Luther Burrell is ready to help Saints bounce back (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

If Luther Burrell has learned anything during his century of Saints appearances it is how to bounce back from disappointment.

The club have made it almost an art form in recent years, with agonising defeats followed by stirring revivals.

And this afternoon at Ashton Gate, they will need another one.

That is because having led Saints into battle last weekend, Burrell, who was given the honour due to reaching his 100-game milestone, saw his team endure a defeat to Bath.

The streetwise west country outfit claimed an 18-14 win, their first victory in Northampton since April, 2000.

It was hardly the start to the new season that the fans who had packed into Franklin’s Gardens had hoped for.

And after a decidedly flat opening-day, Burrell and Saints need a big response against newly-promoted Bristol this weekend.

“One thing that Saints are good at is bouncing back,” Burrell said.

“We never want to go so many defeats on the bounce so last weekend hurt us and we’ve had some fiery training.

“We’ll get on the road down to Bristol and try to get our first victory of the season.”

While Saints were beaten in disappointing fashion last weekend, Bristol claimed plenty of credit from their defeat to Harlequins in the second game of the London double header.

Andy Robinson’s side lost 21-19 in their first game back in the big time and Burrell knows they will be tough to stop on their own turf this weekend.

“They’re going to be at home and it’s their first home game back in the Premiership for seven years or so,” said the centre.

“We know they’re going to be buzzing and it’s not going to be an easy game.

“Every year the league is getting tougher and for us we’ve got to analyse last weekend and the areas we need to improve on.

“It all comes down to our game plan and putting ourselves in the right parts of the field.

“We saw last Saturday that when we’re on the front foot and we’ve got control, we’re pretty hard to stop.

“We just left it a little bit too late last weekend.”

Saints will see plenty of familiar faces in the Bristol squad, with several of the west country club’s players having previously strutted their stuff at Franklin’s Gardens.

Jon Fisher and Soane Tonga’uiha moved to Ashton gate this summer, while Ross McMillan played a part in last season’s promotion.

“They’ve got a great foundation there, they’ve recruited pretty well throughout the summer and the players they’ve got there are pretty handy,” Burrell said.

“It won’t be any easy game so we know that we have to put what happened to bed, be tough on ourselves.

“But it was the first game of the season and there’s a long way to go.

“If you look in our dressing room we’ve got a lot of quality and the ability to be pushing top four, no problem at all.”