Tom Vickers’ Ospreys v Northampton Saints preview

NIGHT TO REMEMBER - George North celebrates his try in the memorable win over Leinster in Dublin last month
NIGHT TO REMEMBER - George North celebrates his try in the memorable win over Leinster in Dublin last month

Anyone for a repeat of Dublin?

Saints produced one of the greatest performances in their history in their most recent Heineken Cup outing, the 18-9 success on Leinster turf.

It was a night that continues to feel like just yesterday and as Jim Mallinder’s men prepare to return to Europe this weekend, it comes sharply into focus once more.

Everyone associated with Saints will be desperate to see the team book more big matches like the one they sampled at the Aviva Stadium.

But, to ensure the dream of a quarter-final place remains alive, the green, black and gold will have to produce another sizeable performance.

Ospreys know they can end Saints’ hopes of continuing their stay in European rugby’s biggest tournament with a win at the Liberty Stadium.

Steve Tandy’s men have a point to prove in Pool 1 after so far failing to ignite, losing three of their first four games.

And what better way to prove it than by beating a team gathering plaudits from all quarters right now.

The defeat to Leinster at the Liberty in October was particularly painful for Ospreys but they went on to restore some pride by beating Castres there two months later.

Saints will hope to avoid the banana skin the French side skidded on when they take to what is likely to be a slippery surface on Sunday.

Four successive wins suggest they should do, and that triumph in the Dublin pressure cooker displayed just what they are capable of.

But they will need to show just as much grit as they did in slaying Leinster.

As the players and coaches have been keen to point out this week - Saints cannot afford to consider the prospect of a winning bonus point.

A victory is the primary focus and it will take a big effort to make it happen.

Saints must approach this like they approached Dublin, with a nothing-to-lose attitude.

They have already earned a reprieve after losing two of their first three games, and qualifying for the quarter-finals would be a gargantuan achievement.

The Pool Of Death has lived up to its name so far.

It’s resembled an episode of Gladiators, with teams facing off in duels, swinging pugil sticks at each other until one goes down.

Saints could fall off the Heineken Cup platform on Sunday, but they have more than enough to land the kind of crucial blow they did in Dublin just four weeks ago.