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Mallinder: Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final is big match for Saints

Kahn Fotuali'i's try helped Saints earn a bonus point on Sunday © Getty Images

Rugby News Mallinder: Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final is big match for Saints

Jim Mallinder says that Friday night's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Harlequins is the type of match that the Saints want to be playing in at this stage of the season.

After guaranteeing their place in a fifth successive Aviva Premiership semi-final with Sunday's bonus point win over London Irish, the Saints' attention now turns to the European knockouts and an attempt to take another step along the road to Cardiff.

It is five years since Franklin's Gardens last hosted a European semi-final, a 16-13 thriller against Saracens that saw Stephen Myler land a late drop-goal to send the hosts to the Twickenham Stoop and ultimately lift the Amlin Challenge Cup trophy.

Friday night sees one of the form teams in the Aviva Premiership come to Franklin's Gardens, but Mallinder would not have it any other way.

“It's brilliant for us,” he told SaintsTV. |”It's the end of the season and the kind of match that we want to be playing in. We'll be giving it everything that we can to qualify.

“We've got to see who's fit and raring to go, and we've got to look at our squad. We've got to make sure that we pick the right team for Friday night who are going to come out and give us a real chance of getting to this final.

“We've got a good squad and we're going to have to use it now a little bit to make sure we get through to the end of the season fighting, but we don't want to go out early. We want to get through to the finals of both competitions.

“Harlequins are finding a bit of form. They had a good win up at Sale last week, and to turn Leicester over was a good game for them. They're playing well and with spirit, and are going to bring a strong team up here. They want to get to the Amlin Challenge Cup final, but we do as well and it's looking like a cracking game.”

Tickets are on sale now for the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final. To order online throughout the Bank Holiday just CLICK HERE and follow the straightforward instructions, using the Print@Home service to beat the match day collection queues and save the admin fees!

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