Burrell bids to help Saints banish Sixways demons

'It's one of those games that sticks with you.'

Friday, 18th November 2016, 7:00 am
Luther Burrell has been in action for Saints during the Anglo-Welsh Cup wins in recent weeks (picture: Sharon Lucey)

That is Luther Burrell’s response when asked about Saints’ most recent trip to Sixways.

Because though it was more than a year ago - on the opening night of the previous Aviva Premiership season - what happened against Worcester will take a while to forget.

Perhaps if Saints can slay the Warriors tonight, they can banish the demons of Tom Heathcote’s dramatic last-gasp drop goal, which came in a 13-12 defeat last October.

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“It was obviously the first game of the season and they came out of the blocks firing,” Burrell said.

“We didn’t really turn up in that game and it was very frustrating.

“When we got them back here at the Gardens we managed to pull one back and get the victory that day, but we know what kind of team they are with the players they’ve got.

“They’ve got threats all over the park and although Ben Te’o as been with England, they’ve got some outstanding midfielders.

“From watching them, Ryan Lamb’s playing well, pulling the strings at 10 so they are a dangerous team.

“At home, on a Friday night, they’re going to be fully ready for the challenge of us coming down.

“They’ve got the likes of Dows (Phil Dowson), GJ (van Velze) and Lamby, who have been with us and know what our culture is about.

“They’ll be ready for us, but we’ve had a good week and it’s exciting.

“I’m really looking forward to trying to keep the momentum going.”

So has Burrell been engaging in some banter with his former team-mates in the build-up to the game?

“I let Dows crack on this week, but I might give him a text to tell him to watch himself,” Burrell joked.

“You normally catch up after the game.

“But one lad I have spoken to is Matti Williams, because I know he’s been suffering with injuries this year and I wanted to make sure he was all right.

“And he checked up on me with my head.

“I spoke to him on Monday and it will be good to catch up with the other boys after the game.”

Saints have won their past three matches, with Burrell, who returned from a concussion setback, playing his part in the two most recent ones, in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

It is a competition that has been much-maligned, but one that the 28-year-old has really savoured, with a smile etched on his face as he speaks about it.

“I tell you what - I’ve had a cracking couple of weeks,” Burrell said.

“To see some of the lads go out and express themselves, with no worries, has been great.

“The likes of Sam Olver, Rory Hutchinson, Tom Collins, it’s brilliant.

“It’s been fantastic for me, I’ve had a really good couple of weeks getting myself back in and running around with some of these younger boys.”

Those players have helped Saints build the winning habit they wanted going back into the Aviva Premiership, in which they have won three of their seven matches so far.

And Burrell said: “There’s been a lot of negativity around us and although some of the wins haven’t been pretty, they’re wins and that’s what carries the team forward.

“We know we’re back in the league now and we know we need to go and pick up points at Worcester.”