Saints 'excited' about difficult Champions Cup draw

Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing Saints test themselves against the best (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing Saints test themselves against the best (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Saints boss Jim Mallinder insists his side won't be fazed by their tough Champions Cup fixtures next season.

Mallinder's men were drawn in Pool 2, meaning they will face both of last season's Champions Cup finalists, Clermont and back-to-back champions Saracens, as well as PRO12 semi-finalists Ospreys.

It is a tricky task for Saints, who were placed in the bottom tier for Thursday's draw in Switzerland after finishing seventh in the Aviva Premiership.

They made it into the Champions Cup after winning play-off matches against Connacht and Stade Français.

And Mallinder is confident his team can step up against Europe's finest next season.

“If you want to be in the Champions Cup you’ve got to be prepared to play tough teams and this is what we will have to do,” Mallinder said.

“It’s a challenging draw and we know that we’ll have to play at our very best if we are to progress from it.

"Saracens and Clermont were this year’s Champions Cup finalists and are two of the best teams in Europe, and the Ospreys have plenty of international players, too.

“But it is a draw that we can be excited about, because we want to test ourselves against the other top team, and we believe we’ve got a squad that can compete next season.”

All three home Champions Cup pool matches will be played at Franklin’s Gardens this season.

And the dates of each fixture will be released in due course.