Ben Foden (left) fails to prevent an Andrew Trimble try. ©INPHO/Presseye/Tom Dulat
saints alive

Heineken Cup: Write us off at your peril Foden warns Ulster

Northampton Saints expect to be without the services of the cited Dylan Hartley.

IT WILL TAKE more than a heavy home loss, near-certain elimination and the suspension of captain Dylan Hartley to shake Northampton Saints’ confidence.

The 2011 Heineken Cup finalists were soundly beaten, 25-6, by Ulster at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday but fullback Ben Foden insists the Premiership outfit can avenge the defeat.

He told the Northants Telegraph, “There’s a big belief in our squad that we can go and test them at Ravenhill. A lot of people will write us off, which is probably a good thing.

“We’re probably at our most dangerous when teams take us for granted and we’ll be looking to put in a big performance this weekend.”

Ulster’s pace and precision in the opening stages of the pool four match left Saints reeling and Foden was powerless to prevent a ninth minute try by Andrew Trimble. More followed.

“I think that it stung so much that we were at home and conceded four tries,” Foden added. “We didn’t play well as a team but Ulster did. Obviously we’ll bridge that gap if we perform to our potential.

“It’s a big ask to go to Ravenhill and beat an undefeated side, a strong side as well who have had a successful season both in the Heineken Cup and in the Rabo Pro12.

“For us it’s pride, it’s getting things back on track.”

Hang-dog Hartley

Meanwhile, Saints hooker Dylan Hartley should be out of contention for Saturday’s match as he will plead guilty to a citing for striking opposite number Rory Best in the home loss to Ulster.

Saints coach Jim Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton, “He has been cited, we will be pleading guilty and we expect that he’ll be unavailable this weekend.

“He’s our captain and our talisman and it’s a frustration to lose him.” Mallinder added:

It’s competitive. He’s come up against an old adversary in Rory Best and although it wasn’t a massive incident, it was something.

“It’s playing on the edge, but not going over it, and it’s something all the players have to learn.”

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