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Preview: Saracens v Northampton Saints

Preview: Saracens v Northampton Saints

Saracens and Northampton Saints have enjoyed their fair share of high-stakes clashes in recent seasons and the magnitude of Saturday’s meeting is not lost on Ken Pisi.

Saints lifted the trophy in 2014, beating Saracens at Twickenham in dramatic fashion, but Mark McCall’s side gained their revenge the following year, beating table-topping Northampton in the semi-finals before going on to win the competition.

Go even further back and Northampton went to Allianz Park in the 2013 semi-finals – Pisi’s first visit to the venue – and won 27-13.

Saracens are leading the way this time around, top of the table through 14 rounds, while Saints currently sit outside the top four.

However, the Samoan winger insists form and league position counts for very little when these two Aviva Premiership Rugby giants go head-to-head.

“It is a big game against Sarries,” Pisi said. “It is always a big game – current champions versus former champions – it will be good.

“We have won two out of three at Allianz Park, my first game there was the semi-final. We went to win, but we went and demolished them and hopefully that will be repeated on Saturday.

“Sarries at home are always tough, they have a good squad and we’re not underestimating that, but we have a fair chance that we can pull out another win. I will be looking to do what I can for the team.”

“Sometimes we have to grind out teams until the very end to get the win. Worcester put up a very good fight in the first half or first 50 minutes, but we finished well.”

Saracens sit at the top of the pile this season but they have picked up just seven league points out of a possible 15 in their last three games.

However, their only home defeat in any tournament this season came when Wasps visited Allianz Park last month.

Northampton Saints’ only defeat in their last four matches was by a single point at Newcastle Falcons in round 13 of Aviva Premiership Rugby but they have won just twice on the road in the competition in the past 12 months.

Saracens were victorious 12-6 at Franklin's Gardens when they met earlier in the season and have not achieved a season's double over the East Midlanders since 2012/13.

Northampton, meanwhile, are the only visiting side to have won twice at Allianz Park and they have an opportunity to complete a hat-trick on Saturday.

But Saracens have received a boost ahead of the game, with the news that flanker Will Fraser has signed a new contract, keeping him at the club until 2019.

“I’m over the moon,” said Fraser. “I’ve been here since I was 14-years old and have grown up here with a few of the other lads. 

“I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else as I love the club. I love everything that it’s about so I’m really happy to extend my stay at Allianz Park.”

Allianz Park, 3.15pm

Referee: Tom Foley (16th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Andy Watson. TMO: Rowan Kitt.

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