Saints aim to avoid showing Saracens too much respect

Tom Collins is eager to take on Saracens
Tom Collins is eager to take on Saracens

It has now been nine long, agonising matches since Saints last beat Saracens.

So just why have they struggled so much against the current English champions?

Is is just because they are too strong or is there something Saints can do to stop their dominance?

Those are the big questions ahead of Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup final at Franklin's Gardens, where Saints will bid to finally end their barren run against Saracens.

"They're a very good team but from personal experience we've respected them a bit too much when they've come here," said Saints wing Tom Collins.

"Especially last year when we lost by however many points in both games and it was a bit damaging for us confidence wise.

"This year, things have changed and you look at the game here in September and we were winning up to the last 10 minutes. We just let it go, which was frustrating.

"A few weeks ago, if we hadn't had such a bad start we'd have been more in the game.

"We have got to respect them this week but we've also got to make sure we go out there and play and don't stand off.

"We want to get this win.

"This weekend is massive for us because we've got to keep our composure and if we lose, we're second place and that doesn't really mean much.

"We want to go and win, get some silverware and this is our home so we've got to win."

Collins knows what it is like to beat Saracens, to win silverware and to claim victory in finals at Franklin's Gardens.

He was part of Saints' double-winning squad of 2013/14 and featured for the Wanderers in their A League successes of 2017 and 2018.

And Collins said: "We're used to finals here and the good thing is that we've got a young team with boys who have played in those Wanderers games.

"Don't get me wrong, it's a completely different occasion this weekend and much bigger, but we've been there, done it and we know what it's like to win finals here.

"Years before that we've lost games in finals and it's heartbreaking so we'll hold that with us throughout the game.

"Hopefully there are good days to come.

"It's a big end of the year for us and with where the team sits we're optimistic and we know we can do it."

Saints have secured some impressive home victories this season, with Academy graduates to the fore.

And Collins said: "This is our home and we talk about it being our pride and joy whenever we come out here, especially in front of a packed house.

"For me coming from Northampton, it means everything playing in front of these guys.

"We want to do it for ourselves and especially these supporters."

Collins has endured a mixed campaign with a fractured eye socket causing him problems earlier in the season.

"It's not been the best, most ideal season for me," he said.

"I've been frustrated, having taken a knock to my eye at a crucial moment.

"But I'm loving playing under the coaches here because they give us freedom.

"You look at people like Furbs (George Furbank) and Mitch (Alex Mitchell) who are just tearing up at the moment.

"I'm itching to get out there and play and I'm looking forward to being out there at the weekend.

"I'm 24 now so I feel like I've been around for years.

"It's actually my seventh year here and I've just got to keep pushing the other players."