Northampton Saints wing Courtnall Skosan says home support will be vital as his side look to register some points in Heineken Champions Cup Pool B when they welcome Munster Rugby on Sunday.
The Gallagher Premiership outfit fell to a 46-12 defeat at reigning champions Stade Rochelais in Round 1 but will be hoping for an improvement as they return to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens in Round 2.
“Franklins Gardens is one of the most amazing grounds I’ve played at, the crowd is amazing, so I think it’s going to play quite a big role for us,” Skosan said.
“It’s important to have the stadium filled, put on a good performance, and then hopefully make our fans proud.”
Another lift for Northampton is the return of England forward Courtney Lawes, who came off the bench in their defeat to La Rochelle last weekend after two months out.
Comeback o'clock ⏰ @JohnnySexton returns to the bench for @leinsterrugby, while @JakePolledri is back for @gloucesterrugby 😍 @madoshtambwe returns for @UBBrugby and @AmLukhanyo is back on @SharksRugby's bench 🔥#HeinekenChampionsCup team news ➡️ https://t.co/TAY8skUcGV pic.twitter.com/q3acalHdq6
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 15, 2022
Wing James Ramm, who crossed for a try on his Heineken Champions Cup debut in that loss, has explained the impact of Lawes’ comeback.
“Seeing Courtney back out there definitely gave us a lift,” he told Northampton’s website.
“He’s been training for a couple of weeks now and everyone has been getting excited to see him get back out there.
“To play with him is definitely a pleasure because he’s a world-class player.”
Meanwhile, Munster centre Malakai Fekitoa says his teammates all need to be on the same page for the trip to Northampton, as the hosts have the capability to punish them if they aren’t.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Northampton play some good quality rugby. They play fast rugby and [there are] some great players there.
“We just have to focus on ourselves, sorting out our system plays and getting a connection with the guys so that when it comes to travelling there, we can rely on each other to get a result.”