Myler hopes Challenge Cup can be catalyst for greater success for Saints

Saints fly-half Stephen Myler (Picture: Linda Dawson)
Saints fly-half Stephen Myler (Picture: Linda Dawson)

When Saints lifted the European Challenge Cup in 2009, it was an announcement that they were back.

After their return to the English top division a year earlier, Jim Mallinder’s men were showing they meant business.

They claimed victory in all nine games in the Challenge Cup in the 2008/09 season, culminating in a 15-3 final success against Bourgoin at The Stoop.

Stephen Myler’s boot held the key to that victory, as the fly-half landed five penalties.

And as one of the few members of the current squad who played in that game, he is hoping for another memorable night in the same competition when Saints face Bath at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night.

“It probably wasn’t the prettiest of games,” said Myler, reflecting on the 2009 triumph. “Slightly dewy conditions and very physical. I remember a couple of scuffles with Courtney (Lawes) involved.

“Fond memories of the night, fond memories of the journey that got us there, going to places like Toulon and getting convincing victories.

“Obviously it wasn’t the strength of squad Toulon have got now, but that was our first trophy as kind of a new era after Jim (Mallinder) and Dorian (West) took over and I’ve got very fond memories of it.”

Mallinder and West took over at Saints in the summer of 2007 and have since re-established the club among the European elite.

This week, they head into the final in a very different place, with a shot at Premiership final glory set to follow at Twickenham eight days later.

And Myler believes beating Bath can act as a catalyst, just as the beating of Bourgoin did, as Saints went on to finish second in the Premiership the following season, as well as claiming the LV= Cup.

“We were building something then,” he said.

“The first season we got back up our efforts were focused on staying in the Premiership, then we went on the run in the European Cup.

“It gave us that confidence that we could beat big teams.

“We were a relatively newly assembled squad and team but some of the performances we put in and the results we had gave us the confidence that we were capable of doing something special.

“We played some good rugby that year, the squad’s changed a lot since then but there are still some boys who are here from those days.

“I’ve got very fond memories of it and hopefully we can do it again this week.”