Last weekend was Alex Waller's first break in 81 Saints games © www.redhatphoto.com
Rugby News Waller: Time to step up against Falcons
Alex Waller says that the Northampton Saints team will need to keep its focus if the home winning momentum is to be maintained in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle.
After playing for the last four weeks without the club’s England contingent, the Saints welcomed the sextet back to Franklin’s Gardens this week ahead of the Falcons’ trip down from the north east.
And while Waller, who hit his century of first team appearances in the Saints’ last home match, a bonus point LV= Cup win over Gloucester, has welcomed the England players back, he says that the players who were left all represented the black, green and gold with aplomb.
“It’s always good when the squad gets back together,” Waller said. “There are some big characters that have been away and they always bring a certain dimension back to the club. But I think while they’ve been away we’ve held the fort well, come away with some good victories and the young boys have definitely stepped up.”
Saturday’s game marks Newcastle’s first visit to the Gardens since their return to the Aviva Premiership. The Falcons have had a mixed record in the top flight this term, but Waller insists that despite the Saints’ own unbeaten home record there is no complacency in the squad.
“Newcastle have got a decent back line, they've got some previous Saints players like Noah Cato; he's always dangerous,” he added. “Their front rowers and the rest of the forwards are big, so obviously we need to be a hundred percent on our game and we can hopefully come away with a victory.
“You've just got to keep going game by game. They might not have had the best run but we can't switch off and slip up because we need to keep this momentum going.”
Last Sunday’s LV= Cup win at London Irish was the first time Waller has not been involved in a match day squad for over two-and-a-half years, bringing to an end a run of over 80 consecutive first team appearances.
He says that he has benefitted from the mini-break, adding: “I had the week off last week but I came in fresh this week, flying into training and just doing my best at everything.
“There's only so much you can do, you've just got to let the selectors and the coaches choose the team. You put your hand up but that's the only thing you can do and that's what I've done.”
You can listen to the full chat with Alex Waller in the official Saints podcast, along with interviews with Dylan Hartley, James Wilson, Alan Dickens and Adam Parkins. Suitable for all devices, the podcast is available for FREE each Friday at www.soundcloud.com/official-saints-rugby