Mallinder calls on Saints to be brave as they bid to do it All again

Jim Mallinder wants Saints to show courage at Allianz Park (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Jim Mallinder wants Saints to show courage at Allianz Park (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Jim Mallinder has called on his Saints stars to be brave as they bid to do it all again at Allianz Park on Saturday evening.

Mallinder’s men have a good record at the ground, having won there on three of their five visits in all competitions since it opened in January, 2013.

And they will need to find a way to win again this weekend as they bid to set up a Champions Cup semi-final against Wasps or Exeter Chiefs at the Madejski Stadium on April 23.

“It’s a difficult place to play,” said Mallinder when asked about Allianz Park.

“We know the quality of Saracens and their senior players are all playing well, including for England.

“They’re a well coached, well organised side so it’s going to be tough.

“Playing down there on a plastic pitch and in the wind, you’ve got to get to grips with it, but it’s something we’ve done in the past and something we can do again.”

So just why have Saints enjoyed success at Allianz Park?

“It’s because we’ve always gone down there and been brave,” said Mallinder, who admits Saracens are clear favourites to claim the win this weekend. “We’ve not been daunted by the prospect.

“You’ve got to match up to Saracens. Physicality is a massive thing with them, set piece is huge, so you’ve got to really try to get on top in that area if you can.

“You’ve got to impose yourselves on them and take your chances.

“We saw last week against Wasps that we did have our chances, we didn’t take them and if you give them opportunities, the game is gone.”

Saints and Saracens have built up something of a rivalry during the past few years, but Mallinder has played down any bitterness between the clubs.

“People will talk about rivalry before we play Wasps, certainly before we play Leicester and now Saracens, but it doesn’t come into it,” he said.

“We respect them as a team because they’re a very, very good side.

“They’ve got a lot of their key players playing well at this time, which makes them very difficult to beat.”