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Mallinder wary of pool rivals

10th June 2014 15:31

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RUGBY RUGBY UNION RUGBY UNION TOURNAMENT AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP JIM MALLINDER

Looking ahead: Jim Mallinder

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has stressed that no one should underestimate the Saints' European Champions Cup pool.

Mallinder's outfit have been paired with Racing, the Ospreys and Treviso, with some of the other pools having earned the 'Group of Death' tag.

However, the Saints boss insists that Racing and the Ospreys have squads containing plenty while Treviso are a strong Italian team and will threaten.

"We haven't played Racing Metro before, and going to Paris will be an exciting challenge," Mallinder commented after Tuesday's draw.

"Racing is an ambitious club and showed in their recent play-offs win away at Toulouse just how dangerous they can be. They have a squad packed with quality players and are strengthening even further over the summer.

"While Racing is a new opponent for us we know what to expect from the Ospreys. We had to work extremely hard for our results against them last season and it will be no different in 2014/15. Dan Biggar is a top goal kicker and Alun Wyn Jones is an outstanding captain and any side that has that number of internationals deserves to be respected.

"We haven't played Treviso for a few years, and it will be good to go back to Italy. But while that will be a good trip for the supporters we will have to make sure we keep our focus on the job in hand, which is to get a win over a team that beat Munster and ran Leinster and Ulster close on home turf in the PRO12 last season.

"We know that as Aviva Premiership champions other teams are going to raise their game against us, which means we are going to have to raise our own standards as well."

The fixtures themselves will be confirmed in mid-July.

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Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Saturday , December 20
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Saturday , December 27
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Saturday , December 13
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Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
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Scarlets 7 - 24 Northampton
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Northampton 37 - 23 Newcastle
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Northampton 34 - 6 Ospreys
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1Exeter828
2Bath828
3Northampton726
4Saracens724
5Wasps820