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Northampton ready to ditch tag of Aviva Premiership nearly men

| 08.01.2014

Northampton may have been knocked off top spot by Saracens at the weekend but Jim Mallinder’s side showed they are real contenders for English rugby’s top prize with their 23-9 victory over Harlequins.

The Saints have been the nearly men of rugby in England in recent seasons, finishing runners-up to Saracens in the league last year and only picking up an Anglo Welsh Cup and EDF Energy Cup win since their historic Heineken Cup victory in 2000.

But now, the Saints, who are 2/1 to win their first ever Aviva Premiership, are ready to be the dominant force this season as the wins over Harlequins and Leinster have proved.

And last season’s top try scorer for the Franklin’s Gardens outfit, Jamie Elliott, believes his side are ready to finish top of the pile this season.

“We’ve been almost there a few times, and we’re getting a bit fed up with that and just want to get something,” Elliott told BBC Radio Northampton.

“We’re second in the league, still fighting on the Heineken Cup front, and top of our LV= Cup league, and that’s where we want to be at this point.”

And with Elliott and teammates Ben Foden, Lee Dickson, Luther Burrell and Ken Pisi all committing their futures to the East Midlands club, the Saints have a solid foundation for success.

But standing in their way are a Saracens team who are hell-bent on winning back the Aviva Premiership trophy they lifted in 2011.

Steve Borthwick’s side, who are 13/8 to win the Grand Final, are hoping to exact revenge after exiting at the semi-final stage last season at the hands of Northampton.

The Men in Black have dominated nearly everyone put in front of them this season and their consistency, with England star Owen Farrell running the show, makes them front runners for silverware.

But the Saints proved to be the undoing Sarries once again this season, with Mallinder’s charges inflicting their only defeat of the season.

With this in mind back consistent Saracens at 4/9 to finish top of the pile at after the regular season.

However, don’t miss out on supporting Northampton in their bid to ditch their nearly men tag in the play-offs and lift the trophy at Twickenham.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew