Northampton Saints v Perpignan, Heineken Cup, May 1
Reihana wary of Perpignan threat
ESPNscrum Staff
April 26, 2011
Northampton's Bruce Reihana spots a gap in the Exeter defence, Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs, Aviva Premiership, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, October 2, 2010
Northampton Saints back Bruce Reihana is taking nothing for granted ahead of Sunday's clash with Perpignan © Getty Images

Bruce Reihana believes that 'home' advantage could prove decisive for Northampton in Sunday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Perpignan but the New Zealander is not underestimating the threat posed by the Catalans.

Perpignan have a reputation for being vulnerable on the road and many believe that they will not be able to cope with a Saints side which looked more than comfortable in their adopted home of stadium:mk for their last eight win over Ulster earlier this month, with Franklin's Gardens have being deemed too small for the fixture by the ERC.

However, after watching Perpignan's performance in their 29-25 win over French rivals Toulon in the quarter-finals, Reihana is expecting an epic tussle on Sunday afternoon.

"This semi-final is absolutely massive for the club and for the supporters," the versatile fullback said. "We have worked so hard all season to get to this point and we are all hugely excited about playing Perpignan in the semi-finals.

"Any side you meet in the last four are going to be at the top of their game and Perpignan are no different. We watched their quarter-final and they are a class outfit so we will spend the week looking at them and preparing for the game.

"Coming through the Pool stage as the only unbeaten team was a fantastic achievement and of course we are using that and taking confidence from it going into the one-off games but we know just how tough Perpignan will be on Sunday.

"The Heineken Cup is a really special tournament, bringing the top sides from around Europe together in one competition, and the level of rugby really increases from the domestic scene. It is a step up - it is almost Test match level - and that is why getting so far in the tournament is so exciting.

"This is a huge chance for us and a chance to really step up to this level. To have had a home quarter-final was great, exactly what you need when you play knock-out rugby, and getting the semi-final back at stadium:mk is perfect.

"Milton Keynes is only just down the road from Northampton and it has become a 'home' ground with the supporters packing it out like they do at every stadium we go to. Our support is fantastic. They follow us everywhere and they certainly give you the lift you need. It's going to be tough, but playing at home has to be an advantage and we have to go into the semi-final with confidence."

Heineken Cup Semi-Finals:

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Leinster v Toulouse, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, KO 15:30
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
Sky Sports / FR2 / Canal+Sport

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Northampton v Perpignan, stadium:mk, Milton Keynes, KO 15:00
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Sky Sports / FR2

Heineken Cup Final

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 17:00

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