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Preview: London Irish v Northampton Saints

Preview: London Irish v Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints hooker Ross McMillan admits revenge will be on the menu when his in-form side face London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

After a flurry of activity in the transfer market in the summer, Saints have started the season impressively and thumped Saracens 41-20 at Franklin’s Gardens last weekend to reaffirm their Aviva Premiership title credentials.

They have lost just once this season, going down 26-24 to a last-gasp Billy Twelvetrees penalty to Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm, while they have also drawn 19-19 with defending champions Leicester Tigers.

Impressive starts are nothing new for the Saints however – last term they won their first five games before arriving at the Madejski where they were duly dispatched 39-17 before losing their next two matches.

And McMillan admits that defeat knocked the stuffing out of Jim Mallinder’s side and Saints are determined to ensure lightning does not strike twice.

“I always seem to be involved away at London Irish and I was last year so I don't think we will need much motivating for the game,” said McMillan.

“The dressing room wasn't a good place to be after that game, we were beaten and pretty convincingly and it stopped us in our tracks a bit, it took a little while to recover from so we're going to have to be at our best on Sunday to make sure we back up the win over Saracens.

“The strength in depth here is fantastic at the moment. Looking at Alex Waller, I don't think there's a prop anywhere playing as well as he is at the moment, it's incredible how well he's playing and I'm a bit surprised he hasn't got a look-in for England yet.

"Corbs will have a fight getting back in when he's back, that's how well Alex is playing at the moment.

"Gareth Denman has come in as well, and there's Salesi and Alex's brother Ethan and myself and Mike and obviously Dylan.

"We don't see ourselves as back-ups. We're always fighting for that shirt but we do have more of an opportunity now with Dylan away and the LV= Cup coming up, so there's such great competition here."

Irish meanwhile, are still hurting from their narrow defeat to Newcastle Falcons last time out but the arrival of Australia full-back James O’Connor has raised spirits no end, according to veteran lock Ian Gough.

"There has been a buzz here and that's great because we've added a quality player but we've got a lot of quality here already," he said.

"It's good for the club to get a bit of attention but we have to get our heads down because Saints are playing very well at the moment and we will have to be at the top of our game."

Madejski Stadium (2pm)
Referee: Andrew Small (92nd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff & Stuart Terheege. TMO: Ashley Rowden.
Live on BT Sport

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