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Mallinder: Saints feeling positive ahead of Montpellier challenge

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the players have been focused and positive in training ahead of Saturday’s European Rugby Champions Cup opener against Montpellier.

The Saints host the Top 14’s third-placed team looking to get back to the form and performance levels that had seen them beat Exeter a fortnight ago and come close to overturning Saracens and Wasps.

And while Mallinder acknowledged that last Saturday’s outing at Harlequins was far from the standards expected from both players, coaches and supporters at Franklin’s Gardens he says he is confident that the squad can show its resolve and quality as the European campaign gets underway.

“It was a poor performance against Harlequins,” he told BBC Radio Northampton. “We went down there knowing that they were desperate for a win, like us, and knowing that they were going to play a loose, fast game, and we didn’t impose ourselves like we should have done. But generally we’ve been reasonably happy with our performance this season and we’ve played pretty well.

“The pressure keeps coming. Montpellier have got a quality squad, not just with the 15 that play, but they do make changes and they bring internationals into the 23. It’s going to be very difficult but they are beatable and we’re in a positive frame of mind. We know it’s going to be a massive challenge and that it’s going to be step up.

“We’re playing at home and we enjoy European rugby and playing in front of our supporters. We’ve got a great group of players who have trained well this week and I see no reason why we can’t come out and hopefully surprise Montpellier and get that win.”

Tickets remain on general sale for the Saints’ European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Montpellier, with groups available in many areas of the stadium. Check out what’s on sale at www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/buytickets using [email protected] to beat the match day queues and save the admin fees.

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