Players don’t require much motivation to help their side reach an Aviva Premiership Rugby final but Jamie Elliott acknowledges that if any extra were needed, missing out on last season’s showpiece would do the trick for him.
Elliott’s Northampton Saints beat Saracens 24-20 in a final for the ages 12 months ago but the winger was unavailable for selection due to injury.
The Saints are well-placed to reach that stage again this time around, having already secured top spot in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table meaning they will host a semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens.
Elliott has been an important part of that success, scoring five tries in 13 league matches to date – including two in his last three games.
And the 22-year-old admits that getting back to Twickenham, and being part of the action this time around, is driving him on.
“Missing out on the final last year massively motivates me to make it this time around,” explained Elliott.
“Being in the crowd last time, being injured having done so much for the whole season was hard to take – you just want to be there.
“I want us to get back up there and be there to help us retain the title.
“It’s good that I’m getting more game time now – being on the pitch and showing what I can do is the main thing.
“But there’s always something you can work on and push on for, which we’ve shown in the last few games.”
Northampton guaranteed themselves top spot in the table thanks to a 46-0 demolition of London Welsh last weekend.
They face a much trickier proposition on Saturday – travelling to Welford Road to take on a Leicester Tigers side looking to secure a semi-final place of their own.
And while finishing top of the regular-season pile is an impressive achievement in itself, Elliott says the whole squad are aware that the job is far from done.
“It was a good feeling to beat Welsh, finishing top of the table at the end of the season is a little pat on the back but it’s not over yet,” he added.
“We’ve got a tough game this weekend, then a home semi and we need to push on and get the momentum rolling to finish the whole campaign.
“We want to back up what we did last season and retain the title.
“Whoever we face in the semi-final are going to be a good side, so who we play is up to those three sides going for the top four places.
“It’s not in our hands and we can’t do anything about it – we just have to play whoever gets there in the semi.”
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