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Preview: Northampton Saints v Harlequins
Off the back of an exceptional away win over Ulster in the Heineken Cup, Northampton Saints wing Jamie Elliott isn’t surprised everyone is sporting a smile.
But with a tie at home to Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins on Saturday, the 20-year-old insists the Saints are planning to wipe any smirks off the current leaders’ faces.
Elliott has already turned out against Quins this season in the LV= Cup, as Northampton failed to recover from a slow start and eventually fell to a narrow 31-30 defeat.
And with last year’s 25-23 Aviva Premiership semi-final loss to Quins also in mind, Elliott admits revenge is on the cards – even if they will be without captain Dylan Hartley.
“I think everyone has confidence off the back of Ulster but one game doesn’t define your season and we need to back that up and Quins is a great opportunity,” said Elliott.
“They are champions, they are a good side who play great rugby and we have had some very close contests with them recently.
“We need to come out the blocks flying because in the LV= Cup we let them settle and play their game and it was too late.
“We made up the ground but lost it narrowly at the end which was even more gutting but we shouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
“We were shocked after that game because of how close we came but we are definitely looking for some revenge for the semi-final defeat back in May.”
Elliot however isn’t the only one who recalls the most recent clash at Franklin’s Gardens as Harlequins prop Will Collier insists his side have fond memories of the ground.
But keen not to take Saints for granted, the 21-year-old revealed there will be no lack of motivation in this tie – evident from the tenacity and aggression show in training.
“I can’t wait for this match. We had a great win up there in the LV= Cup and Franklin’s Gardens is always an amazing place to go and play,” said Collier.
“A lot of the young guys got a game there in the cup and stepped up well and we are all looking forward to going back.
“There is going to be a lot of physicality in training all week in the build up to get us ready for this because it is a difficult game.
“That isn’t anything too different for most teams we play against but there is an emphasis mainly driven by the players and not necessarily the coaches when you play a team like Northampton away at Franklin’s Gardens.”