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Saints announce challenging pre-season schedule

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The Saints will play two current Heineken Cup semi-finalists and the four time European champions, Toulouse, during the August build-up to the 2012/13 Aviva Premiership Rugby, Heineken Cup and LV= Cup campaigns.

The first week in August will see the Saints head to the south of France to compete in their second Vaquerin Challenge. This time there will be one game against Toulouse, to be played in Millau on Friday, August 10th.

Leinster are up next, with the reigning Heineken Cup champions visiting Franklin's Gardens on Saturday, August 18th. This game will also feature the respective Under-19 teams going head-to-head and will be part of the 2012/13 Season Ticket package.

The final weekend in August sees the Saints head to Scotland to play Edinburgh on Friday, August 24th for a game which will be played at Murrayfield.

A fixture has also been confirmed with Moseley on Thursday, August 23rd.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that a challenging pre-season is essential as the Saints look to get themselves hardened for the rigours of a tough domestic and European campaign.

"Pre-season games are important as they give us a chance to try new patterns of play and integrate new players into the squad," he said. "During the course of the 2012/13 campaign we will be playing some of the toughest teams in Europe in both the Premiership and Heineken Cup, which is why it makes sense for us to be scheduling fixtures against Toulouse, Leinster and Edinburgh.

"All of those clubs have top quality squads and can put out teams which will test us in different areas, and these games will be an important part of our preparation for next season.

"However while we are planning for 2012/13 we have not taken our eye off the fact that there is still a job to do this season. We have a massive match against Worcester a week on Saturday that we have to win to guarantee our place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby play-offs, and that is all we are focusing on in training at the moment."

All kick off times are to be confirmed.

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