Northampton Saints may have an enviable record over Newcastle Falcons in recent times but Christian Day admits Dean Richards’ troops always make life exceedingly difficult.
And he believes an improved Newcastle back-line, now led by former New Zealand fly-half Mike Delany, could spell trouble for Saints if they aren’t on their toes at stadiummk on Saturday.
The Falcons’ solitary away victory in the competition last season came at relegated London Welsh in October though Northampton, away from Franklin’s Gardens, haven’t had it all their own way.
They’ve won three, lost two in their stadiummk fixtures so far but this is a team who will be desperate to respond after losing their season to opener to the promoted Worcester Warriors.
And Day said: “The Falcons are a team that over the past few years we have managed to pick up wins against but have struggled to put in our best performances.
“They are well coached and very difficult to break down. They have added some fantastic players with real explosive talent – guys like Mike Delany and Sinoti Sinoti that can break a game open.
“We are all aware of how difficult a game it will be, it certainly will not be a walkover.
“It will not be strange to be at stadiummk , we have played four or five times there now and we are very comfortable.
“There should be a big partisan crowd as well and we are looking forward to it.”
The Falcons must move on from their own Round One defeat as Billy Twelvetrees enjoyed a perfect day with his
boot for Gloucester Rugby last Friday.
Richards is ready to include Tonga captain Nili Latu for the first time as he prepares to re-stock his matchday 23 with internationals.
“With Welchy (Will Welch) getting a bump on his head last Friday, it gives us the chance to take our foot off the gas with him, and people like Josh Furno need to get a bit of game time,” said Richards.
“The opportunity is there for us to do that and a few of the boys will be thrown back into the mix.
“Having someone like Nili available makes those decisions a little bit easier when guys like Welchy and Mark Wilson are injured in the back-row, and we have a good group to choose from.
“They won’t be at home, as such, with the game being played in Milton Keynes. It is a different place altogether and by all accounts the stadium and surface are outstanding.
“Whether or not it works in our favour I don’t really know. The Saints will probably see it that way, but from our point of view it is just a case of facing a good team like Northampton and trying to beat them.”
Referee: Dean Richards (82nd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Andy Watson. TMO: Keith Lewis.