Northampton Saints vs Saracens, Aviva Premiership: what time is the match and what TV channel is it on?

Telegraph Sport
Northampton Saints welcome Saracens to the stadiumMK  - Getty Images 

What is it?

It's round 20 of the Aviva Premiership as Northampton Saints face-off against Saracens in a repeat of the 2014 season finale. 

Where is it?

Rather than their usual home of Franklin Gardens, the Saints will play the reigning Premiership champions at the Stadium MK - home to League One football club, MK Dons. 

Saints chairman John White has previously denied that the club plan to leave Franklin Gardens next season.

"Franklin's Gardens is our home, and we've seen over the years how important it is to have a full stadium and a vibrant atmosphere to give the players the environment in which to thrive," he said. 

Northampton play Saracens at MK Dons' League One stadium  Credit: REX

When is it?

Saturday, April 16.

What time is it?

The match kicks off at 3pm on Sunday afternoon. 

What's the team news?

Scotland international Kelly Brown will retire at the end of the season  Credit: REX

Both sides have emerged from the previous round without any major injury concerns.

Saracens back-rower Kelly Brown has announced he will retire at the end of the season to take up a role with the club's academy. 

"I've been incredibly fortunate I've got to do the job I love for 13 seasons," he told BBC Scotland.

"I'm still in good shape, so I could have carried on playing, but coaching is something I've been doing a lot of over the last couple of seasons.

"It's a fantastic opportunity and one I'm very excited about."

How are they playing?

Jimmy Gopperth successfully converts Matt Mullan's try to win the match for Wasps  Credit: Getty Images 

Northampton are coming off the back of a heartbreaking 32-30 defeat to Wasps. 

Five tries for Northampton had put the visitors ahead before Matt Mullan scored a last-minute try to secure a dramatic win for Wasps. 

The Saints have played six previous matches at stadiummk with a won two lost one record there in the European Cup and an identical record there in Premiership Rugby

Saracens' sole defeat in their last six matches came in 32-10 home defeat to Leicester Tigers in the semi-final of the Anglo-Welsh Cup. 

However the Premiership champions have lost three of their last five away games in Premiership Rugby, with defeats to Bath, Worcester and Gloucester. 

What are they saying?

Michael Rhodes celebrates after scoring Saracens' third try against Harlequins  Credit: Getty Images 

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall will be hoping his team can follow up their win over Harlequins at Wembley.

"This was a hugely pleasing performance because we're going big game after big game after big game," said Director of Ruby, Mark McCall. 

"Sunday's game against Glasgow was big for us, so to show the qualities that we did was superb, although not everything we did was perfect.

"The first seven months of the season are about getting into strong positions in the competition we're interested in and now there are a lot of things to be excited about."

Northampton Saints' Jim Mallinder: "We've just got to keep pushing for wins, and hopefully we can secure at least European qualification."

What's up for grabs?

Besides the all-important two points in the race for Aviva Premiership play-off place, the match could also have a huge bearing on the British and Irish Lions.

Warren Gatland names his 42-man squad to tour New Zealand three days after the match in Milton Keynes and a number of Lions hopefuls are set to feature. 

Northampton Saints' Dylan Hartley will pack-down against his England understudy Jamie George, with the Saracens hooker backed to be selected ahead of his international captain.

Hartley admits he is 'in the dark' over whether he will picked to tour New Zealand.

“I think it is the ultimate privilege for any players from the British Isles,” he said.

“To go would be one hell of an experience I am sure, from what I have heard from previous tours. For the guys that do make the tour it will be the trip of a lifetime.

“I am not counting my chickens and I am not getting my hopes up because in a week’s time it could all be taken away. It is one of those things. It is around the corner, you know it is around the corner. It is not something I am overly thinking about or worrying about. I am just thinking about week to week.

England captain Dylan Hartley will be hoping to improve his Lions chances  Credit: Getty Images 

“I have [faced] a good line of hookers [in succession]. I have had Tom Youngs, Tommy Taylor last week. I could have Jamie George this week then Luke Cowan-Dickie the next. 

"They just don’t stop coming so I am just enjoying the games. That is uncontrollable, that stuff [the Lions]. I can’t comment on it – I don’t know what is happening. Either way I am going to be in a good place wherever I am this summer.”

What are the betting odds? 

Northampton Saints 17/10 

Saracens 1/2

Draw 25/1 

 

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