Mallinder happy for Saints to venture into unknown at Saracens

CONFIDENT - Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)
CONFIDENT - Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder admits he and his players are taking a step into the unknown next Sunday when they take on Saracens in the Aviva Premiership semi-final at Allianz Park.

Saracens’ new stadium has an artificial pitch, and it is an extra concern for Saints, who were beaten 22-19 at Harlequins on Saturday.

That result saw the reigning champions finish third in the table, with Saints finishing fourth, and means Saints will travel to Barnet next weekend rather than east midlands rivaks Leicester Tigers, who will host Quins.

For many Saints fans, that will be a bonus, as their record against Tigers is poor, but it isn’t too clever against Sarries either.

Mallinder said: “It’s an unknown for us being away to Sarries in terms of the new pitch there.

“But we’re not going to go there worried about them. We know they are a quality side, very difficult to beat, but we also know that, on our day, we’ve got a real good team.

“If we can put our play together for 80 minutes then we can upset the favourites.

“We are very motivated.

“We have players leaving the club, but we have been away to various grounds and to various sides this year as underdogs and we have turned them over.

“We’ve had a little bit of criticism this season and been accused of being dull, but when it’s throwing it down, why not play to your strengths? I think that’s what we did over that period.

“We conceded a couple of slack tries. We came back well in the second half and it was a game we could have won.”