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JJ Hanrahan and Northampton Saints are ‘clicking into gear’

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Northampton Saints are finally back in the top four of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and JJ Hanrahan admits his side are finally clicking into gear.

After a slow start to the season the Saints have rounded into form nicely with five wins in their last six.

At Franklin’s Gardens they have claimed three bonus-point wins in a row – making up for a perceived lack of cutting edge that plagued their early-season struggles.

And Hanrahan – who will start at fly-half in place of Stephen Myler for their trip to Sandy Park – insists attack is the best form of defence.

"Our attack has clicked into gear and that's a real positive for us,” said the 23-year-old.

"I suppose it was difficult at the start of the year because sometimes weather conditions made it difficult to move the ball into the wide spaces like we want to.

"We've started doing that lately and it's started working for us. The boys are getting a lot of joy out of it and the back three especially have been ignited a bit, that's a really good thing to see.

“But there is still more to come from us, we will keep pushing the boundaries.”

Hanrahan crossed for his first try for the club last time out in their win over Sale Sharks – and it was the all-important fourth score that sealed the bonus point, taking them above local rivals Leicester Tigers and into the top four.

"That was a great relief for me to finally get over and touch down," he added. "It's always great scoring tries, but the boys up front did plenty of the work before that

"It was a good moment – we were pushing for that bonus point and it was good that we got it because we knew we needed it.

"Maybe because we had so many losses at the start of the season, we probably need those points now at this time of the year. I was happy, personally, to get over the line but the important thing was we got the win."

This weekend’s trip to Sandy Park will be a real test – the Chiefs are the best home side in the tournament having picked up 32 league points from their eight fixtures at Sandy Park so far.

"It is very difficult to match them, you have to be careful,” he added. 

"If you spread the field too wide and you worry about their backs, they run through you with their forwards. Likewise if you tighten up, they go around you.

"It's about trying to find that balance and trying to be physical in our defensive set-up.” 

 

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