Saracens forwards coach Alex Sanderson is predicting a spicy affair at Allianz Park on Sunday, saying the Saints players feel his team are ‘fed off silver spoons’.
Saints and Saracens, who square up in the Premiership play-off semi-finals, have a history of animosity.
It stems from Northampton prop Soane Tonga’uiha’s decision to turn his back on a move to the Sarries in 2010.
The Fezheads beat Saints in the Premiership play-offs that year, angering Saints by leaving the Franklin’s Gardens away changing room door open and singing at full blast.
Both teams will be desperate to be the ones celebrating come the final whistle on Sunday, and Sanderson had some interesting to say about the mindset of his side’s opposition.
“You do feel the extra niggle,” he told the Barnet & Potters Bar Times. “It’s got better because there used to be a bit of banter at half-time and arguments and shouting at each other between the coaches as well as the players.
“But certainly on the field there’s no love lost there – I know what their players have said to our players in England camps and it’s along the lines that they feel we’re extra privileged and we have everything we want and we’re fed off silver spoons.
“That’s not the case – we work unbelievably hard for every one of our performances but there’s still a perception out there and that’s a motivating factor for them.”
Saints go into the game as big underdogs, having finished 12 points behind regular-season table-toppers Saracens.
They have also failed to win any of their past three meetings with the Barnet-based side, but Sanderson believes that will only serve to spur Saints on.
“We were underdogs for a few years and it’s a massive motivational factor in terms of your players,” Sanderson said.
“They don’t like us anyway we know that and we’ve scorned them this season already so they’ll be desperate to put one over on us.
“Narrowly losing to us by a ball bounce or a crossbar means they know they are in arm’s reach of beating us on the day so we’re fully aware of the task at hand and what we need to do.”