Northampton Saints to use experience in play-off semi-final

Northampton vs. Saracens
Northampton have beaten Saracens on two occasions this season

Northampton Saints' Tom Wood says they need to use their previous play-off experience in Saturday's semi-final.

Saints host Saracens, whom they beat in extra time to win the 2014 final at Twickenham, and the players believe that experience is invaluable.

"We've been there and won it and I know what it feels like and I just want to repeat it," said flanker Wood.

"We've got to make sure we show the same level of hunger that we did in the final and semi-final last year."

He continued to BBC Radio Northampton: "We are at home, we do have that advantage, but we've got to make sure we don't take anything for granted or rest on our laurels because of that.

"We have got to bring the same fight that we would if we were an underdog away from home."

Northampton vs. Saracens
Northampton beat Saracens 25-20 at Milton Keynes in April

Northampton have beaten Sarries twice in the Premiership this season, but Saints' fly-half Stephen Myler knows those previous games mean little in the play-offs.

"We've had some good recent successes against them but they have always been tight games and that is what we're expecting again.

"We've managed at crucial moments to play some good stuff and capitalise on opportunities, and those are the margins that separate these games."

Saints' recent form against Saracens
Northampton have beaten Saracens on both occasions they have met this season, winning 31-24 in November at Allianz Park and 25-20 in April at StadiumMK.

Saints topped the Premiership table at the end of the season this year for the first time in their history, but they are aware league position is not necessarily meaningful in the play-offs.

Their 2014 title success came on the back of a fourth place Premiership finish and Myler believes the whole season will be defined by this game.

"The nature of the competition means that it is 80 minutes this weekend and hopefully the following one which determines success or failure," he said.

"We know what the rewards are if we play well - we experienced that last year - and we're very much looking forward to getting out there and hopefully we can come away with a win."

Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood
Northampton players Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood after their win over Saracens in the 2014 final