English rugby will be represented in the European Challenge Cup final for a ninth successive season with Northampton Saints and Saracens colliding at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night to get the big weekend of European semi-final action up and running.
The Saints have already tasted Euro success, winning the Heineken Cup in 2000, and Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder is keen for the Saints to march a big step closer to more glory on the big stage.
"We are really looking forward to the home semi-final against Saracens - who are playing well at the moment - but if we play well then we've got a good chance of progressing through to the final," he said.
"However, Saracens have a good pedigree in Europe. They reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup last season and a lot of their players have plenty of experience playing international rugby and winning silverware.
"The first thing we're looking at is trying to win something. We're two games off that and we'll give it our best shot. We got through to the semi-final of the EDF and finished eighth in the Premiership, which is satisfactory for our first year back.
"We took a lot out of that other semi-final against Cardiff and it was good for our confidence. It showed we could compete against the big boys, particularly after seeing what they did against Gloucester in the final, and that to lose against them by one score at the Ricoh Arena was a good performance.
"We are a decent side and we will go into Friday's game confident, but not over-confident, and if we win that we will be in a European cup final, which would be great news for everyone at the club."
Saints finished in eighth place in the Premiership and Saracens ninth with the two domestic meetings between the semi-finalists going with home advantage and each ending in a five-point winning margin to underline the narrow gap between the clubs.
"I think we have the mentality to go further," said Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Saints' Argentine international lock.
"We know that the winner of the European Challenge Cup will get into the Heineken Cup so we are looking forward to the game.
"We will put in a good week's preparation and we know that Friday will be a massive game and a massive test for us.
"It is vital that we have a good game in the semi-finals and play well at home. During the entire year we have tried to secure a semi-final at home and then the final, if we get there, could go either way.
"To get to next season's Heineken Cup would reward all the hard work we've put in during the year.
"However, we know that Saracens are a good team and while we are looking forward to the match we also know we will have to perform on the night.
"It's very pleasing how the squad has developed. It is a young squad and coming up from National League One is not easy - in the past teams have struggled in the Guinness Premiership - and although I think we've done well, we have to keep going as a team."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.