Northampton lock Sorenson wary of Sandy Park atmosphere
Northampton Saints lock Mark Sorenson has warned his team-mates that they need to take Exeter Chiefs' home support out of the equation at Sandy Park tomorrow.
Exeter Chiefs are the best home side in the Aviva Premiership, having taken 24 league points from their six games. Their 46-12 Heineken Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne is their only loss at Sandy Park this season.
Saints are hoping to overcome back-to-back defeats in the league and overturn the Chiefs, much like they did last season to secure a play-off spot at the expense of their rivals. But Sorenson is under no illusions as to just how tough a task they face tomorrow.
"You have to be wary of home crowds when you play away from home," he said. "Sometimes you have to play to perhaps take the crowd out of the equation by increasing field positions, taking opportunities that are presented to you.
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"Exeter away last year was a big game, it is always a really good game down there and we are in a similar position to what we were when we went there last year, pushing for the top.
"It is a really tough place to go and they create a really good atmosphere with great fans.
"I think we have to be respectful of the places we are going and understand it is going to be a different atmosphere and bring a slightly different game plan to each game."
Successive league defeats – to Harlequins and Saracens – have seen Jim Mallinder's side fall out of the top four. Sorenson insists he and his teammates need to rediscover that winning feeling, and fast.
"It is the skill of winning games regularly – you can't leave that at the door," he said. "When you get an opportunity to score from 100m out that is when you have to be brave and take that opportunity."
Mallinder, the Saints' head coach, has confirmed that tighthead Brian Mujati will miss tomorrow's game at Exeter with a calf injury.
Mujati was hurt during the first half of the Saints' 17-16 defeat to Saracens in Milton Keynes last Sunday. The Bulawayo-born forward, who is set to join Racing Metro Paris this summer, limped off to be replaced by Paul Doran-Jones.
Doran-Jones could now earn a start at Sandy Park this weekend, with Mujati absent. "Brian has got a calf injury, he's pulled his calf, so he'll be unavailable this weekend," Mallinder told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
Forwards Christian Day and James Craig and utility back James Wilson are all on the recovery trail, though. Day has had an ankle injury, while Wilson has not played since the end of September due to a calf injury and Craig has yet to play this season.
"They are close [to comebacks]," Mallinder added. "It's looking very encouraging on that side of things. Day and Wilson are both out running, and Craig is as well."
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