Northampton Saints to 'go after' European Rugby Challenge Cup

Northampton prop Alex Corbisiero has said the new European Rugby Champions Cup will be a priority for Saints.

The Premiership champions missed out on the knockout stages of last season's Heineken Cup, which will be replaced by the new competition this year.

"We've set the bar high. Backing the Premiership up will be a tough task," Corbisiero told BBC Radio Northampton.

"But it's the same thing with Europe, we want to aim one higher and go after that new competition."

Saints made history last season after winning their first ever Premiership trophy, beating Saracens 24-20 in a thrilling final at Twickenham.

Corbisiero on fitness and England:

"I've had a good pre-season, good time off and I'm fit, healthy and ready to go. If I was chosen for the world Cup the next year it would be a dream."

They also added the Challenge Cup to their list of silverware, finally ending a run of four consecutive final defeats in three years.

Jim Mallinder's men were not as successful in the Heineken Cup, failing to make it past the group stages after suffering two defeats and finishing second place to Leinster in their pool.

The Heineken Cup will be replaced by the European Rugby Champions Cup this season, after a dispute between clubs and competition organisers was settled, and Corbisiero believes Saints can challenge for the title.

"We're an ambitious side, but we have the depth in our squad and the key ingredients to go out and do that. We just have to put in the hard work and the performances when they are needed," added Corbisiero.

The 25-year-old was ruled out for the majority of last season with a knee injury and last featured in Stuart Lancaster's side against Argentina back in November 2013, missing out on the 2014 Six Nations and New Zealand tour.

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup 12 months away, the British & Irish Lions forward will be hoping to add to his 19 appearances for England.

"I've had a good pre-season, good time off and I'm fit, healthy and ready to go," he said.

"Every year is a big year for club and country but this season there is a big prize and the opportunity of a World Cup at the end.

"If I was chosen for the World Cup the next year it would be a dream."