Saturday 18 November 2017

Foden admits Saints' English contingent keen to gain 'Slam' revenge

Paul Dollery

Northampton's Ben Foden says they're looking forward to challenging Leinster "outside of their comfort zone" in Saturday's Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.

Foden admits Joe Schmidt's side are a tough proposition on home soil -- Leinster are unbeaten at home this season -- but the England international insists Northampton fancy their chances in Cardiff.

He said: "Hopefully we can raise our game and do some damage. We're happy to get Leinster on neutral ground because they love home quarter-finals and semi-finals and it's good to get the Irish outside of their comfort zone. It's also our first major final for a few years, so we'll be well supported."

Foden said Northampton's England contingent will be keen to avoid further disappointment at the hands of an Irish side on Saturday. Foden, Chris Ashton, Tom Wood and Dylan Hartley were all involved at the Aviva Stadium in March when England were denied a first Grand Slam since 2003.

"There will be a bit of extra force from the England guys in the Northampton side involved that day because it was bitterly disappointing, even if we did win the Six Nations," said the full-back.

"But this is our club and another opportunity for one of the biggest trophies, and also to make history as the first team to go through the tournament undefeated. So our motivation is huge."

Both teams are bidding to win the Cup for a second time.

"We need to be more cut-throat and take our chances ruthlessly. We must also play our own style of rugby and not sit back and let them do their thing. For instance, we need to cut down Jonathan Sexton's space and put pressure on his kicking," Foden said.

"We have to concentrate on ourselves and getting momentum, and not get sucked into their game. We must shut them down and not let their big names do big things."

Foden added that curbing the influence of Brian O'Driscoll will be crucial. "O'Driscoll is one of the greats," said 25-year-old Foden. "He is the second name in the northern hemisphere after Jonny Wilkinson as a player who has been there and done it all over the last decade. He always does well in big games so we'll be looking out for him."

Irish Independent

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