Sarge’s Preview – Saints v Sale

The Aviva Premiership reaches Round 17 of 22 this weekend, weather permitting, and for the Saints that means a home game against Sale Sharks at 3pm on Saturday. Not on the TV schedules so commentary on Radio Northampton if you can’t get to Franklin’s Gardens.

Last week’s frustrating bonus point loss at Exeter saw the Saints move one point further ahead of Worcester (who lost by quite a margin to London Irish) and move to just one point behind 9th place Harlequins. Sale are in 8th, some 7 points ahead of Saints, and they also had a frustrating time last week – losing 33-32 at Bath after being ahead for much of the game. As Harlequins play Bath at the Stoop on Friday night by Saturday afternoon we will know whether we have a chance of overtaking them.

Saints and Sale have already clashed twice this season, losing 18-15 in the league in November and winning 24-20 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in January, both games at Salford. Best of three then!

Rugby League convert Denny Solomona is an obvious threat in the Sharks attack but someone else who has impressed me this season is Faf De Klerk at Scrum Half. He’s come from the South African team Golden Lions and has racked up 94 points in 20 appearences – but he has racked up 2 yellows and a red as well. A good distributor of the ball, he is also adept at finding a way through gaps in the defence with a sharp turn of speed. If the Saints defence can close him down then that should weigh the odds heavily in our favour.

Saints v Quins Sarges Brainteaser

The last round of the Anglo-Welsh pool fixtures take place this weekend and for the Saints that means a home game against Harlequins on Friday at 7.45pm. If you are not going to be at Franklin’s Gardens then TV coverage is on BTSport1 or commentary on Radio Northampton.

Both teams sit on top of their respective pools. Harlequins have a 5 point gap over Exeter so a losing bonus point would still see Quins through to the semi-finals. Saints have a 3 point buffer over both Saracens and Worcester, and will thus need a win to guarantee qualification. I’m sure that our team will be similar to the squad that went to Sale last week but how strong a side Quins will name? Will they go all out to clinch the win or will they rest a few players?

If Northampton doesn’t get the four points then we will depend on the results from two other games…

Dragons v Worcester: All four Welsh teams sit bottom of their pools so for Dragons this will all be about pride at home on Friday night. Worcester had good bonus point win against Exeter in round 3 and they must fancy their chances of winning again this week, but can they get another 4-try bonus?

Exeter v Saracens: If Saints and Worcester fail to win on Friday we will have to wait until Saturday afternoon to see who qualifies from our pool when Exeter play Saracens. The Chiefs are 5 points adrift but if Quins fail to get even a losing bonus they will know that a good win here could see them scrape through. Their fans will certainly want to see a better performance than last week. Saracens will also know from the Friday results whether they can qualify with a win from this game. It could be a dead rubber, or it could be that both have something to play. Regardless of the situation, I’d suggest a home win from this one – here’s hoping that the Chiefs do us a favour.

Important message re coaches

IMPORTANT NEWS ON SSC COACHES

Our proud boast is that we run coaches to all Aviva away matches and mainland (and sometimes Irish) matches. However, the Supporters Club is not immune to the current stresses and strains facing our members and coach travellers. Getting the right size and quantity of coaches to away games is a balancing act, This year we have seen an

increase in bookings deferred until the last minute. , and we have had to disappoint some travellers, and on occasion, at the last minute get an unsuitable coach for the distance. It is really important that you book early for coaches, as we will be closing them MUCH EARLIER. Due to a downturn in bookings, we have had to put on a 20 seat coach for Saracens, and we are now disappointing some who wish to book -the week of the match. While Saracens is is a bit of an anomaly, we had similar problems with the Harlequins coach. We are asking you Please, Please book as early as possible for the coaches in order to avoid disappointment. It is easy to book on this site, please don’t leave it until the last minute at the SSC table in the Rodber, one day it may not be there! You don’t necessarily need a Paypal account or a credit card, you can pay by bank transfer! (members ONLY can pay for members tickets by cheque on the day, but they must book)
So the Request is – BOOK EARLY, BOOK OFTEN

 

Sarges’ Preview

The first Premiership game of the New Year, and with a new tactical coach on board we can hope that it signals a fresh start for 2018. Saints v Gloucester on Saturday 6th January at 3pm, with TV coverage on BTSport3.
The last meeting between the two teams was at Castle Grim on 7th October and the Cherry & Whites were the victors by 29-24, that scoreline flattered by a late comeback by the Saints (just a bit too late to make up the deficit). This was our first defeat after a run of four victories had seen us briefly on top of the table, but it was to be the start of seven successive league losses.
Gloucester’s origins lie with the Romans, but here’s a bit of later Anglo-Saxon history, courtesy of the city’s visitor website…
After the Fall of Rome, Gloucester was captured by the Anglo-Saxons following the decisive battle Dyrham in 577. The Mercian king, Osric of Hwicce, founded an abbey dedicated to St Peter on the site of today’s Cathedral. By the tenth century, Gloucester continued to be an important centre in the Kingdom of Mercia, and was famously re-planned and re-fortified by Queen Aethelflaed (daughter of Alfred the Great) as a defence against the marauding Danes. The core street layout survives to this day. Aethelflaed also founded the New Minster church of St Oswald (c 900 AD) which became a shrine of great importance following the installation the seventh-century king and saint’s bones.

Saints Supporters Club AGM

The 2017 Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday 7th June at Franklin’s Gardens.

Adam Reynolds opened the meeting. with a summary of the season. Some highs and lows, some points to remember and others to forget. Saints finished with two playoff wins Connacht and Stade, the atmosphere at the end of the final was the best since the Tigers semi final three years ago.

The SSC dinner in February was very successful and enjoyable, all who helped.

Adam thanked all the members and the committee, as he is standing down after 4 years as chairman and 15 on the committee.

Election of Officers:

Chairman – David Lowrence, Vice Chairman – Richard Weston, Secretary – Simon Badcock, Treasurer – Lisa Newton, Membership Secretary – Ian Sargent

Election of committee members:

Chris Brewer, Maurice Eglin, Jim Gladwin, Martin Hayward, Roger Munns, Marion Newton, Stella Sargent.

You can learn more about the committee members here