Collins wants fearless Saints to deliver 'flying start' at Saracens

Tom Collins is ready to tackle Saracens at Allianz Park
Tom Collins is ready to tackle Saracens at Allianz Park

Tom Collins insists Saints do not fear Saracens ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership opener at Allianz Park (kick-off 3pm).

And the speedy wing is desperate for his side to get off to the perfect start this weekend.

Saints have not won at Saracens in any competition since March 2016 and have lost each of their past six league games against Mark McCall's men.

But confidence has been boosted by a 31-22 Premiership Rugby Cup win at Leicester Tigers last weekend and Collins, who scored in that game, is in high spirits.

"It's going to be a tough weekend because they pride themselves on physical dominance and they try to play on top of you all the time," Collins said.

"They're relentless with their kicking game.

"It's going to be a tough challenge but we're looking forward to going down there.

"We're confident in our own ability and I believe we've got the talent to go down there to do a job. We're buzzing.

"The tough thing with Saracens is they can beat some teams before they even get there, but we've got a young squad who are not afraid.

"We're excited to get down there and implement our game plan on them.

"We're keeping our heads down and focusing on what we need to focus on.

"We want to start the season flying.

"We know what we want to achieve this season and we want to start well this week."

Saints met Saracens in a Premiership Rugby Cup clash at Franklin's Gardens less than two weeks ago and were unfortunate to be 23-21 down at the break.

But they eventually lost the second half 31-7 as they suffered a disappointing 54-28 defeat on home soil.

"We can't afford to lose focus against a team like Saracens - we need to be switched on for the whole 80 minutes," Collins said.

"We can't just play well for 10, 20 minutes at a time.

"We need to be switched on as soon as that ball is in play."

Saints have delivered some typically free-flowing rugby in the opening weeks of the season, with Collins rounding off a superb breakaway try at Welford Road last weekend.

And he said: "It (Saints' style of play) is enjoyable.

"You know with this style of play that we're going to get the ball and we're going to get opportunities to take people on.

"As wingers, that's what we strive for.

"We've got pace out wide with Sleights (Ollie Sleightholme) and Ryan Olowofela so we want to give it a go.

"We've obviously got the big guy (Taqele Naiyaravoro) on the other wing who is just ridiculous. He bounces people out of the way.

"We've got a good variety of players in our team.

"A lot of us have come through the Academy and we're all close mates.

"We've all grown up together and we've known each other for years.

"You go out there, look to your right and left and you're playing with your close mates.

"You're not just playing with colleagues, you're playing with people you believe in.

"It's a good place to be at the moment."

Collins certainly enjoyed Saints' win against Tigers last weekend.

It was the black, green and gold's third in succession at Welford Road.

And Collins said: "I love playing there.

"As a Northampton boy playing against Leicester, you know the occasion and you know what it's all about.

"It was good to get on and get the win.

"We all look forward to those games and we love them.

"It's a good place to go and play.

"It's easy to get up for it because you know all the history behind it and it's one of those games you pride yourselves on.

"The fans love it, they get the bragging rights so it was good to win."

Collins scored 11 tries in 25 appearances last season as he flourished at Franklin's Gardens.

And now he is desperate to maintain his momentum for the campaign ahead.

"I want to keep improving and pushing on," said the 25-year-old, who has scored 25 tries in 78 appearances for Saints.

"I feel like I am improving every week under Chris (Boyd) and (Sam) Vesty and I just want to keep doing that.

"Consistency is one of my biggest aims for this year.

"I don't want highs and lows. I want a consistent base of playing well week in, week out.

"I want to stay in this team because we've got such an exciting bunch of players.

"We've got a squad full of youngsters and even I feel old even though I'm only 25!

"I'm just looking forward to it."