Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors: Tom Vickers' big match preview

Saints secured a superb win at Saracens last Saturday
Saints secured a superb win at Saracens last Saturday

Fixture: Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Competition: Gallagher Premiership (round two)

Venue: Franklin's Gardens, Northampton

Date and kick-off time: Saturday, October 26, 2019, 2pm

Weather forecast: 13c, light rain

Television coverage: None

Referee: Jack Makepeace (Premiership debut)

Saints: Furbank; Collins, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Taylor; Waller (c), Fish, Painter; Moon, Coles; Wood, Tonks, Harrison.
Replacements: Haywood, Franks, Garside, Bean, Gibson, Tupai, Symons, Sleightholme.

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Humphreys, Beck, Mills (c), Nanai; Weir, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Carey; Bresler, Fatialofa; Hill, Lewis, du Preez.
Replacements: Taufete'e, Black, Palframan, Kitchener, van Velze, Kitto, Lance, Venter.​

Outs: Saints: Harry Mallinder (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), Alex Mitchell (knee), Reece Marshall (hamstring), Francois van Wyk (elbow), Paul Hill (foot), David Ribbans (compassionate leave), Dan Biggar, Piers Francis, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Cobus Reinach (all international duty).

Most recent meeting: Saturday, May 4, 2019: Saints 38 Worcester Warriors 10 (Gallagher Premiership)

Tom's preview: If last Saturday's win at Saracens was sweet, it would be made all the more enjoyable by another success this weekend.

Saints are well aware that they may have negotiated one sizeable hurdle, but they still have another 21 to go in the Premiership regular season.

And if they fall when Worcester Warriors come calling this weekend, all of their hard work at Allianz Park would be wasted.

After all, they would have been widely expected to win one of their opening two matches, with Saints big favourites against the Warriors.

But now they have the chance to make it two from two - a prospect which would have filled home fans with delight ahead of this weekend's encounter.

Saints often delivered big away displays towards the second half of last season, but they were left to count the cost of strange defeats on home soil.

Many times, losses against the likes of Newcastle Falcons and Bristol Bears were spoken about.

And Saints will be so desperate to avoid those kind of slip-ups this time round.

Having said that, it is what can come from having so many young players in the squad.

Consistency is something few achieve so early in their careers, but Saints supporters will have real faith that this talented crop can.

They will not only need to bring the quality they showed at times last weekend, but similar spirit against a Worcester side who have lived up to their Warriors tag in recent times.

They slayed Leicester Tigers at Sixways last weekend and will fancy making it an east midlands double this Saturday.

But Saints can't afford to let that happen.

They have a real chance to give themselves a fantastic platform to build from in the coming weeks, with games against Harlequins and Bath also beckoning.

And they will need that when the Champions Cup starts to place extra demands on their squad.

It is a squad that was stretched yet stood so tall last Saturday.

And if it can do the same again this weekend, the home supporters really will be full of early-season joy.

Tom's prediction: Saints have to back up last weekend's win at Saracens with a victory against Worcester, but the away side will be out to spoil the party and certainly won't go quietly. Having said that, you have to back a Saints side who should be full of confidence and swagger to win this one, especially if conditions are to their liking. Saints 28 Worcester 18.