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Away success key for Saints

Wed, 02 Jan 2013 09:16
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Saints lock Mark Sorenson knows they will have to improve their away record if they are to secure a Premiership play-off spot.

Northampton Saints lock Mark Sorenson knows his side will have to improve on their away record in the second half of the campaign if they are to secure a Premiership play-off spot.

Saints have been in and out of the top four in recent weeks, successive defeats to Harlequins and Saracens relegating them to sixth ahead of Saturday's clash with Exeter Chiefs.

A trip to Sandy Park is a daunting enough at the best of times, the Chiefs have not lost there in the Premiership this season, but with the battle for play-off spots heating up every game becomes important.

Jim Mallinder's troops have finished in the top four for the last three years in a row but Sorenson knows he and his team mates cannot take a semifinal berth for granted this season.

"The league is very tight what has been happening a little bit is we have been jumping around at the top of the table in places three, four and five - the play-off spots are up for grabs but in order to be in there we need to perform," he said.

"Away from home is always a challenge and I certainly on a personal level enjoy going to these places.

"Everyone here is really focused to do well away from home, it is a challenge we enjoy and we have had a couple of victories away.

"It is the skill of winning games regularly - you can't leave that at the door. When you get an opportunity to score from 100m out that is when you have to be brave and take that opportunity."

The New Zealand second row has appeared in all 12 league games this season for the Saints but has only started four of them.

And while the 33-year-old admits he his itching to nail down a starting slot, he will continue to help out Mallinder's troops in any way possible.

"The coach has used me in different roles this year and I am comfortable with either starting or coming on as a replacement," he added.

"I am just keen to get out there and that decision changes from week to week. I am ready to go onto the field and help the team.

"I am doing my work during the week and putting the effort in during training. I am helping the guys who are starting and if I am called upon I know I am ready.

"Of course I want to start matches. That is where you want to be, I just need the game time to prove myself but at the same time I need to be ready to go at any time, to be fit and healthy and have an understanding of the gameplan.

"You need to be able to implement the team's system when you go out there so you always need to know what is happening."

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Northampton Saints 22 16 1 5 76
Bath 22 16 0 6 75
Leicester Tigers 22 15 1 6 68
Saracens 22 14 1 7 68
Exeter Chiefs 22 14 0 8 68
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Harlequins 22 10 0 12 49
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London Irish 22 7 1 14 40
Newcastle Falcons 22 5 1 16 34
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