Northampton full-back Ben Foden believes a fast start is crucial for his side to beat Leinster in their Champions Cup clash at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday.
These sides meet in the first of two meetings over the next two weeks which is a repeat of a fixture which Leinster won 40-7 on their most recent trip to Northampton, in 2013.
The Saints did well to clinch a 18-9 win in Dublin eight days later but Foden knows they can’t afford another slow start in the first match of this year’s December double-header against the PRO12’s second-placed side.
Northampton have been struggling in recent weeks and head in to this clash after suffering succesive defeats to Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers in the Premiership.
“It’s sort of the story of this season that we’re slow out of the blocks and then we’re chasing teams,” Foden told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
“Our performances against Leinster three years ago, we got a real hiding at home and then looked for a reaction the following week, but we don’t want that.
“We need two big performances. “We showed in the second week with the turnaround that we can beat teams like Leinster in their own backyard, but we’ve got to get the performances at home as well.
“Teams are coming to Franklin’s Gardens now and feeling they’ve got a good chance.
“A big focus for us is to turn Franklin’s into a fortress again and make sure teams know they’ve got to work seriously hard to get anything from games, let alone win.
“We’ll look at getting the crowd behind us, getting the force of the Gardens behind us and hopefully we can get the performance and result we’re looking for.”