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Foden and Northampton Saints ready to bounce back

Ben Foden and Northampton Saints failed to defend their Aviva Premiership Rugby crown last season but the full-back is adamant his side are ready for revenge this time around.

The 30-year-old suffered another injury-hit campaign for Saints, who finished top of the table in the regular season before falling to defeat to eventual champions Saracens in the semi-finals.

Regaining the title this season will be a big ask considering they have lost two cornerstones of their pack in Samu Manoa and Salesi Ma’afu to Toulon over the summer.

But they have recruited wisely – World Cup winning lock Victor Matfield has joined as have England prop Kieran Brookes and Munster playmaker JJ Hanrahan.

And Foden insists the disappointment of last season will spur them on to greater things this time around.

“It’s the first year we have had so many changes and there are a lot of people missing but it’s good to have a bit of fresh blood in here and change things up a bit,” he said. 

“Obviously we were disappointed (last season) but I think it was another step for the club. Finishing top of the league was a good step but when you get to those stages, you have got to put yourself in the best possible position.

“We were missing a few key players and we were beaten by a good outfit, which went on to win the final. We will have a big emphasis on finishing top again and also with the European Cup in mind.”

Foden's interview was part of a new campaign from Premiership Rugby and Aviva to welcome new supporters to Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.

His club colleagues George North and Courtney Lawes are two of 16 club ambassadors – including Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Schalk Brits and Anthony Watson – who are backing the 'Aviva Premiership Rugby First Timers' campaign.

And Foden is hoping new supporters will come down and sample life at Franklin's Gardens this season.

“We have got a new stand built, I think it’s a good thing to have a bit of a revamp,” he added.

“Teams change all the time and we have got to trust in the change. Losing players like Samu Manoa and Salesi Ma’afu, they are great players and they have gone to arguably the biggest club in the world.

“[Matfield] is an interesting signing. He is a great player and his resume speaks for itself. I look forward to see what he can do when he comes here.”

The Aviva First Timers programme will give away almost 2,000 free tickets for every single game in the first seven rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, from the start of the season right up to Christmas and fans are encourage to visit www.premiershiprugby.com/avivafirsttimers now to sign up for their free tickets

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