Fixtures - Top Bar

Jim Mallinder preparing for familiar faces in quest for European glory

Jim Mallinder knows it is a tough ask, against some old foes, but make no mistake about it: Northampton Saints have European Rugby Champions Cup glory in their sights.

The Saints have not gone past the quarter-final stage of European Rugby’s premier club competition since 2011, but the experienced director of rugby is desperate to surpass the club’s second-place finish that year.

Northampton were crowned Europe’s finest for the only time in 2000 and they will need to be at their best if they are to finish in the top two of Pool 4, which they share with Leinster, Montpellier and Castres.

“We are hoping to win the competition; it is as simple as that,” Mallinder said.

“We have won it in the past and I was involved in the team a few years back that had a fantastic run to the final and lost a magnificent game in Cardiff.

“We have been there and been very close, we know how it feels to have a successful run and it is something that we would love to achieve again this year.

“Domestic games are tough but you know what you are getting when you go to the likes of Harlequins or Saracens because you do that every year. It is good and exciting but when you play a Champions Cup game it is very, very exciting because things are different and a different level.

“In the first few rounds it is vital that you get a good start, get off to winning ways and get some points on the board.”

In Leinster the Saints face a European powerhouse who inflicted two of the club’s most heartbreaking moments in recent years.

The three-time champions beat the Saints in the 2011 final and also inflicted the Aviva Premiership club’s worst European defeat in December 2013, a 40-7 loss – although Northampton did record a memorable 18-9 win in Dublin the following week.

Castres are another club who will be well-versed in what to expect from the Saints as it is the fifth season in seven years where they have been drawn against each other at the pool stage.

You have to go back to 2009 for the last contest between Northampton and Montpellier though, when Mallinder’s men won the Challenge Cup contest 28-24 and a certain Louis Picamoles was among the try-scorers for the French side.

Mallinder, whose troops kick off their European campaign against Montpellier on October 15, said: “We have had some great games with Leinster and they are a quality side with some great history so they will be great to play back-to-back in December,” he added.

“We have played Castre a number of times and they are a strong side and very difficult to beat, especially down there, and they have been going well in their domestic competition.

“We have not played Montpellier for a while but we saw them play in pre-season and they have lots of good players, with a big South African influence there, with some massive forwards and they did very well to qualify for this competition last year.

“We have three tough teams but all are exciting and a massive challenge.”

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the organiser of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition.

Follow all the excitement of another thrilling season of European action at www.epcrugby.com

Latest News

Whiteley hoping to lead Saracens starlets to glory in Singha 7s

Saracens scrum-half Tom Whiteley is hoping to use all his experience of competing at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s to…

Topsy Ojo talks London Double Header memories

With six weeks to go until London Irish lock horns with Harlequins in the iconic London Double Header at Twickenham,…

Topsy Ojo

Toby Flood hopes to bring ruthless streak to Newcastle Falcons

Toby Flood is hoping to help give Newcastle Falcons the ruthless streak required to push them further up the Aviva…

Toby Flood

Aviva Premiership Rugby set for changes after six law amendments added to global trial

Aviva Premiership Rugby will be part of the global trial for six new law amendments after the World Rugby Executive…

Alex Lewington hopes London Irish youngsters will gain confidence from Singha 7s

London Irish wing Alex Lewington cannot wait to see which youngsters step up to the plate in the Singha Premiership…

Alex Lewington

Worcester Warriors sign Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer

Warriors have signed Ireland international Peter Stringer on a six-month deal ahead of the 2017/18 season. The scrum-half will join…

Peter Stringer

Tim Streather forced to retire from rugby

Former Saracens centre Tim Streather has been forced to retire from the game due to a knee injury. Commenting on…

Tim Streather

Contract and captaincy for Dylan Hartley at Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints has today announced that Dylan Hartley has both signed a new contract and been appointed as the club’s…

Dylan Hartley

Forwards Coach George Skivington says London Irish squad are chomping at the bit

The London Irish squad have returned for pre-season training ‘hungrier’ than ever before according to Forwards Coach George Skivington. Now…

George Skivington

Wasps Academy sign Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Wasps announce the signing of hooker Gabriel Oghre and prop George Thornton to the Senior Academy ahead of the new…

Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Singha 7s gives next generation the chance to shine

Harlequins academy coach Jim Evans believes that next week’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will give the league’s stars of the…

Harlequins in action at the Singha 7s

Singha Premiership Rugby 7s draw confirmed

The 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season will kick off – at the end of July - in spectacular style with the Singha…

Win an Executive Box for the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series

Premiership Rugby has teamed up with Northampton Saints to offer supporters the chance to win themselves an Executive Box at…

Singha 7s Ball

Dave Attwood and team-mates happy to lend a hand at Bath Rugby Foundation’s Summer Scrum

Bath Rugby lock Dave Attwood admitted helping teach rugby to children with disabilities was extremely humbling as he and his…

Gordon Reid on his first training day with London Irish

New recruit Gordon Reid is determined to be a permanent fixture in London Irish’s front row having made the switch…

Gordon Reid

Singha 7s is a chance for players to shine, says Stephen Myler

Northampton Saints’ Stephen Myler is anticipating a vibrant atmosphere and high-octane rugby when the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s arrives at…

Stephen Myler

Mark Wilson bringing his England form back to Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons’ latest England international checked back in at his club on Monday, with Mark Wilson enthusiastic about their prospects…

Mark Wilson

Worcester Warrior Chris Pennell pays tribute to community heroes

Chris Pennell paid tribute to Worcester Warriors’ grassroots spirit as he got his hands on his Aviva Community Player of…

Sale Sharks volunteer sees hard work rewarded at Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards

Sale Sharks’ Paula Bradbury couldn’t hide her delight as she was crowned Community Volunteer of the Year at the Premiership…