Saints skipper Alex Waller admits he cannot wait to get back out on home turf for the first time this season, as Northampton welcome Wasps to Franklin’s Gardens tomorrow.
The men in Black, Green and Gold face their midlands rivals in the Premiership Rugby Cup (kick-off: 3pm) in their first competitive match in front of their own supporters since facing Worcester Warriors back in May.
“We’re not looking at these as preseason games; we’re coming in as the reigning champions and we want to set up a good marker especially at home.”Alex Waller
Both sides are searching for a first win of this year’s competition; a young Saints side went down to Sale Sharks up in Manchester last weekend, while Wasps were beaten at home by Saracens.
And while the two teams will both be desperate to bounce back with a win on Saturday, Waller insists that – as defending champions – another good Cup run is high on Saints’ priority list.
“What you’ve got to remember is that we’re the reigning champions in this competition,” he said.
“In the past some teams have overlooked the Cup competition, but there is a direct correlation if you look at Saracens and Exeter Chiefs between winning it and doing well over the next couple of years in the Premiership and Europe.
“So hopefully that stands true with us as well – we’ve worked very hard this off season.
“It’s a little strange at the moment with the Rugby World Cup taking place; there’s been no real preseason games, so teams across the board as using this as an opportunity to give everyone a run out.
“But we’re not looking at these as preseason games; we’re coming in as the reigning champions and we want to set up a good marker especially at home. It’s our first home game this season and we want to make this place a fortress.”