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Nick Abendanon (right) has warned his side to respect the Saints

Abendanon: Gaffney’s Saints must be respected

Friday, January 12, 2018

Clermont fullback Nick Abendanon insists his side will not be taking their visit to Franklin’s Gardens lightly on Saturday, as they face off against the revitalised Saints – kick-off 5.30pm.

A win this weekend will put the Top 14 champions in pole position to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition, where they have looked impressive so far despite their stuttering league form.

But the Saints arrested a frustrating run of their own last week against Gloucester, scoring a penalty try in the dying moments to win 22-19 in the Aviva Premiership.

And while Northampton cannot qualify for the knockout stages after the first four rounds of action, Abendanon – who knows Franklin’s Gardens well after nine seasons with Bath Rugby – is adamant his side must be wary of a Saints team with nothing to lose.

“It does not stop them wanting to prove a point against us,” the 31-year-old told Clermont’s official website.

“Alan Gaffney’s arrival has put the Saints in a new frame of mind and they will want to build their momentum after their last result.

“It’s normal when a new coach arrives that everyone in the squad has that bit of extra motivation to show what they are capable of.

“Gaffney will bring a more offensive philosophy to the team that will really appeal to the fans at Franklin’s Gardens.

“It will be a very hard match, but we know our game plan.”

Tickets are still available for Saints' European Champions Cup clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by visiting bit.ly/SAI-CLE-EPCR or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000. Prices start at £32 for adults and £14 for juniors.

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