Fixtures - Top Bar

Mallinder and Northampton Saints braced for Europe

Jim Mallinder is determined to bring the European glory days back to Franklin’s Gardens sooner rather than later, even if the Northampton Saints chief is fully aware of the challenges that lie in wait.

This season sees Northampton Saints drawn in Pool Three of the Champions Cup where they will play Pro12 champions Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets and a Racing 92 side who will soon be able to call upon the services of World Cup winning All Black Dan Carter.

You have to go back to the 2010-11 European campaign to find the last time Northampton topped their pool – the Saints going on to lose to Leinster in the final.

There were crowned European champions in 2000 but since defeat in the 2011 showpiece have only featured in the knockout stages once, losing their quarter-final clash to eventual runners-up Clermont Auvergne last season.

They did however lift the Challenge Cup in 2013/14, the same season in which they clinched the Aviva Premiership Rugby title.

And director of rugby Mallinder is adamant it is time to put Northampton Saints back on the European map, although he admits that is easier said than done.

“We are really looking forward to the Champions Cup,” he said. “European rugby is always a big part of Northampton Saints.

“We have got a good record, we have won the competition in the past and a few years ago got through to a really exciting final against Leinster which we unfortunately lost.

“It is tough, uncompromising, but it is good. It is challenging and you look at the Scarlets who have made a fantastic start to their season, Glasgow we have played them previously and they are a tough team and they have lots of good international players as well as some good youngsters coming through who play an exciting brand of rugby.

“Racing are a class team out in France. We played them in the past and they have always been good there when we have played them and with the likes of Dan Carter joining them it will be tough with him added to the mix.

“But that is why you want to play in a tournament like this, go up against some real good sides, some good individuals, world class personalities and that is why we enjoy the challenge.”

First up for Northampton in this year’s Champions Cup are Scarlets, who travel to Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday November 14.

The Scarlets have won six of their seven league matches so far this season, but Mallinder knows just how important it is to win your opening home clash in the Champions Cup and will be after nothing less than success.

“If you are playing at home first up you need to win that one,” Mallinder added. “If you lose the first home game it really puts you behind.

“We have got Scarlets first up, we have a brand new looking Franklin’s Gardens as we have a new stand there, a new pitch, so we are looking forward to welcoming them and hopefully the crowd can get behind us and we can get off to a good start.

“We enjoy the domestic league because you are paying week to week rugby, but to play in Europe and travel to these different places, go and play against some of these teams is great experience.”

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem

Latest News

Teofilo Paulo excited by London Irish move but will miss home cooking

Samoan international Teofilo Paulo is making the most of his mum’s cooking ahead of the summer move to London Irish.…

British & Irish Lions beaten in first Test by New Zealand

Two second-half tries from winger Rieko Ioane helped New Zealand to a 30-15 victory in the first Test against the…

Harlequins Ladies coach savours upcoming Women’s Super Rugby season

Women’s sport is booming according to former Richmond prop and Scotland captain Karen Findlay, who is now relishing the prospect…

Aviva Tackling Numbers programme celebrated at Corporate Engagement Awards

Premiership Rugby and its Aviva Tackling Numbers programme enjoyed not one but two moments in the spotlight at the Corporate…

Corporate Engagement Awards

Lions ready for battle on eve of All Blacks Test

After months of waiting and weeks of build-up, The British & Irish Lions are ready to face the toughest challenge…

Saracens and London Irish to kick off the season at Twickenham

SARACENS and London Irish will help launch the 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season after being chosen as the home sides for…

Ex-England star Susie Appleby excited to lead Gloucester-Hartpury in inaugural Women’s Super Rugby campaign

Former England international Susie Appleby believes it’s an exciting time for women’s rugby as she issues a rallying cry to…

Wasps confirm 2017/18 pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2017/18 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Connacht Rugby and Ulster Rugby, as well…

Wasps celebrate

Quartet sign Academy contracts with Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that Rhys Davies, Wil Partington, Miles Reid, and Kieran Verden have all signed long-term…

Todd Blackadder

Clare Daniels hoping to inspire the next generation of female rugby referees

The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating…

Luke McLean enthused by London Irish move

Luke McLean is looking to reignite his international career under Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea following his summer move to…

All Black Francis Saili joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 21st June) that All Black Francis Saili has joined the Club. Commenting on…

Francis Saili

Bath Rugby sign Phillips from Bristol Rugby

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of James Phillips, who has joined the Club from Bristol Rugby until…

JamesPhillips1

Nowell gets two tries as Lions see off Chiefs in Hamilton

Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell returned to his sparkling best with two tries for the British & Irish Lions in their…

Nalaga a big coup for Irish says international teammate Tikoirotuma

Explosive wing Napolioni Nalaga can be an big hit in every sense of the word during next season's Aviva Premiership…

Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury

Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season. The new set-up sees former Yorkshire…

The new Wasps academy coaches

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Sale Sharks have announced the latest in a wave of world class signings, as they confirm Australian International James O’Connor…

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Lions prepared for final warm-up before All Blacks Test

After a crucial victory against the Maori All Blacks, the British & Irish Lions are just a single match away…

Wasps sign Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley

Wasps today confirm the signing of props Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley, while loosehead Tom Bristow is confirmed as leaving…

Paul Doran-Jones