Here and now is all Saints head coach Vesty is interested in

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Before Saints won their first, and so far only, Premiership title back in 2014, they had to endure a huge amount of heartache.

Play-off semi-finals regularly proved a step too far as Jim Mallinder's men lost to Saracens, Leicester Tigers and Harlequins in successive years between 2010 and 2012.

It felt like they would never manage to negotiate the last hurdle before Twickenham.

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But in 2013, they marched to Saracens and upset the odds, securing a sensational 27-13 victory.

Sam VestySam Vesty
Sam Vesty

They would suffer more gut-wrenching disappointment in the final that year, losing to Leicester.

But one year on, they finally managed to complete their mission, seeing off Saracens in the showpiece to ensure the Premiership trophy would, at long last, make its way to Northampton.

That triumph feels so long ago, and since then, Saints have gone back to enduring play-off misery.

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They lost at home to Saracens in 2015, at Exeter Chiefs in 2019 and at Leicester last year.

Now they go again, against a Saracens side who have yet to lose at home in the league this season.

But the only thing head coach Sam Vesty is interested in thinking about is the here and now.

Vesty is quick to shrug off mentions of last season’s semi-final loss at Leicester when Saints came flying out of the blocks but failed to take enough of their chances to stop Tigers booking their place at Twickenham.

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"It’s a completely different game, it happened a long time ago,” Vesty said.

“I think we played some decent rugby and ultimately didn’t get across the line.

“We know the most important thing is to focus on what we are doing and looking forward to our next game and prepping to put our best foot forward and I think it’s very important every week.

"It’s all about us, all about what we can do on the pitch.”

While many will be focusing on Saracens and what they can do, having topped the table and delivered another hugely impressive season, Vesty is only interested in ensuring Saints are at their best.

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And he truly believes that if they are, they can topple Mark McCall’s men.

“This game comes at the end of a lot of hard work," Vesty said. “You put a lot of effort into getting to these games and it’s the exciting bit really – hopefully two more games and it’s what everyone looks forward to, so we've absolutely very excited.

"We've got a lot of belief.

“They are a very good team and it takes us playing well and playing well for long periods of time and I think if we do that we will win. If we don’t, or only play well in patches, then it will be tough as they are a very strong outfit.

"I believe if we put our game on the pitch for a good length of time, we'll win. End of."