Saints warned that Newcastle are ‘a different team now’

Ben Foden scored twice in Saints' win against Newcastle back in October (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Ben Foden scored twice in Saints' win against Newcastle back in October (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Newcastle attack coach Dave Walder has warned Saints that the Falcons are now a different team to the one which was humbled in Milton Keynes back in October.

The Falcons were thrashed 42-16 by Jim Mallinder’s men, who ran in five tries on a comfortable afternoon.

But Newcastle have enjoyed a resurgence of late and have won their past five home games, including earning a fine 26-14 victory against Leicester Tigers last Friday night.

Saints will travel to Kingston Park for a crucial Aviva Premiership fixture on Sunday, with both teams desperate for points for different reasons.

The Falcons are keen to put more distance between themselves and bottom side London Irish, while Saints are now just two points off the top four.

And Walder said: “Northampton have found a little bit of form these past few weeks.

“They are trying to play a little bit more rugby than maybe they did at the start of the year, they have a very powerful set-piece and we know they will be in our faces.

“The breakdown will be a real battle with guys like Tom Wood, Jamie Gibson and Sam Dickinson knocking about, but at the same time we know how we can deal with it, what we can bring and how we can turn what they see as a strength into a weakness.

“We are a completely different team now to what we were in Milton Keynes, and in those first couple of months of the season.

“We are growing as a team, but looking at a defeat like we suffered down there, as a coach I use that as my motivation. We definitely owe them one.

“For the players it is slightly different because their task is just to understand how we can beat this Northampton team, and that is going to begin with the battle up front. Win that, and we can have a good day at the office.”