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Marshall: Saints learning to win ‘both ways’

Reece Marshall is hoping Saturday’s victory over Sale Sharks can act as a springboard for further success at Franklin’s Gardens, as Northampton Saints continue to push for a top-four finish.

A win on home soil had been elusive so far in 2021 for the men in Black, Green and Gold. Covid disruptions wreaked havoc on the side’s schedule during January, while the one home game that took place since the turn of the year saw Saints fall to an agonising one-point defeat against Bath.

But not only was the 17-14 win over Sale a welcome return to winning ways on home soil, the manner in which it came was particularly pleasing for Saints hooker Marshall.

With league leaders Bristol Bears travelling to Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday, the 26-year-old – who recently signed a contract extension with the Club – believes the confidence gained from a determined, backs-to-the-wall result against the Sharks can help build a winning mentality at home.

“It’s good to finally get a win at the Gardens,” Marshall said. “Especially after not winning at home to Bath the other week.

“That’s the type of win we needed at home; not one where we play fancy rugby, one of these gritty wins where we needed to build that fortress again. Hopefully we can go on from here.

“If you want to be a champion you’ve got to win both ways. We’ve got to bring it in defence and stick to what we know and play to our strengths.”

Reece Marshall

“We needed to be stronger up front to win those games against the likes of Exeter, Sale, those lads who are pushing the top four due to their physicality and the way they are keeping the ball tight. We need to bring that side of it to compete and beat them.

“Bristol are a team which brings a different skillset, they play wide and on that front foot but in a different way to Sale – not as compact. I think, if we remember when we went down there, we had a really good run and were unfortunate.

“I’m hoping we back up our physicality on Sunday, bring our game, and if we do that, it will be a tough ask for them to come up here and win.”

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