Gibson raring to go as Saints prepare to face Saracens again

Jamie Gibson helped Saints beat Gloucester before being given last weekend off (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jamie Gibson helped Saints beat Gloucester before being given last weekend off (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Jamie Gibson admits he hated not playing in Saints' superb win against Clermont Auvergne last weekend.

But the in-form flanker knows he will feel the benefits of the rest when he squares up to Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday.

Gibson was given last weekend off after starting seven of Saints' previous eight matches.

The former Leicester Tigers forward watched on as his side secured a five-try 34-21 success against Clermont, last season's Champions Cup runners-up.

And he said: "I hate not playing.

"If I had my way, I'd play 40 matches a season.

"You never want to be told you're rested and not involved, especially when you come up against the European clubs.

"It's a funny one because you're always grateful afterwards, but during the match you want to be involved, especially in big wins like that.

"It was a top performance from the boys and it makes it all the more exciting to come back in this week."

But Gibson knows having a weekend off will help him in the long run.

"I trained early in the week to help get the boys ready and then had a nice long weekend," he said.

"After a lot of rugby, it takes longer and longer to recover so a couple of days makes a big difference.

"I've been back in this week and it's a big game for us playing Sarries away and a chance for a few boys to put things right."

Though Saints have struggled at times this season, Gibson has been largely consistent, earning praise from supporters.

And he said: "I feel I've been playing well and I've enjoyed it.

"It's hurt and been all the more frustrating in some ways because you want to be winning.

"I love playing as much as I can and when I can build groups of 80 minutes I can get stronger and stronger.

"I'm just enjoying my rugby at the moment."

Gibson will hope to enjoy Saturday's clash with Saracens more than the previous two meetings with the Barnet-based club.

Sarries smashed Saints 55-24 on the opening day of the Aviva Premiership season before thrashing them 57-13 in the Champions Cup curtain raiser at Franklin's Gardens in October.

"We know we've played Sarries twice this season and it's not gone well for us, but those are past games and now we've got a chance to keep taking that extra step," Gibson said.

"Sarries are a very well organised side and they've got quality players no matter who is available.

"We know down at their place it's not an easy place to win - not many sides have done it - and we need to go there and make them do things differently.

"We need to put our stamp on the game, show them what we're capable of and make them react rather than them controlling the game."

On the previous two meetings with Saracens, Gibson added: "It's frustrating because as a forward pack we almost felt like we were chasing shadows.

"We felt in those first 20, 30 minutes there was constant momentum on their side and against a good team like that you are just playing catch-up.

"A big focus this weekend will be those first 10, 15 minutes away from home.

"It's a European game, some people will ask whether there's much to play for for us, but sometimes those are the games when there's most to play for because it's a matter of pride.

"In some ways, with people rested, it's an opportunity to go up against a quality team in a big competition and make your mark."