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Preview: Northampton Saints v Gloucester

Preview: Northampton Saints v Gloucester

The battle for the Aviva Premiership play-offs is gathering pace and Gloucester Rugby flanker Andy Hazell admits this Saturday’s clash – live on Sky Sports – against Northampton Saints is "all or nothing".

Hazell is set to make his first league appearance since September after serving a 14-week ban and is desperate to make a telling impression.

Gloucester have lost their last three Aviva Premiership away fixtures, but go into this weekend just a point and a position below fifth-placed Northampton.

Nonetheless, Hazell will be hoping for a better result than the one that welcomed his return to the Cherry & Whites fold in the LV= Cup in January – a 26-7 defeat against the Saints contributing to their group stage elimination from the competition.

But with that defeat at Franklin’s Gardens still fresh in the memory, the 34-year-old is relishing the chance to make amends this weekend.

“It is a great game for us. We have had a few games where results haven’t gone our way and we need to go down there and prove people wrong,” said Hazell.

“We have to get the win. There is no point looking at this or that game in a few weeks time because this is all or nothing.

“We have to start picking our form up and that starts with this weekend. We didn’t learn anything new about Northampton from the LV= Cup tie.

“They are a good side with a good set-piece, a good scrum and lineout, and we just didn’t deal with it.

“That defeat is fresh in our minds and has helped explain where we need to be. We have been working on those things this week.”

The two clubs have already met twice this season, with the Saints victorious on both occasions in the Premiership and Anglo-Welsh Cup.

And flying wing Jamie Elliott hopes home advantage pays off – despite winning just one of their last three league games at Franklin’s Gardens.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough game, although we have the home advantage,” said Elliott.

“They might be looking for a bit of revenge after getting beaten by Bath in the LV=Cup at their place so it should be a good game.

“Having the home crowd is always good, having them on your side does help and knowing you are playing for them gives you that little bit extra.

“We know they are a good side and their back three are pretty dangerous and they are also dangerous at nine and ten, they have a very strong pack as well so they are very similar to us and just have a lot of good players.”

To buy tickets for this play-off bout, click here

(Franklin’s Gardens, 12.30pm)
Referee: Martin Fox (83rd Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Watson, Robin Goodliffe. TMO: David Grashoff
Live on Sky Sports HD

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