Northampton Saints’ Director of Rugby Chris Boyd is adamant that his side are not suffering from a crisis of confidence, despite an opening Champions Cup defeat to Bordeaux-Bègles.
Friday’s European curtain-raiser finished in agonising fashion for the men in Black, Green and Gold, as they were beaten 16-12 on home soil in the European Champions Cup by the Top14 side.
Saints produced a dominant display which – for large parts of the game – looked set to yield a valuable four-point haul to kick off the campaign, but for the second week running Boyd’s side fell victim to a late score which cost them victory.
The Kiwi coach refused to blame a freak bounce of the ball (which rebounded off the post in the build-up to Santiago Cordero’s winning try) for the defeat at Franklin’s Gardens, and insisted that while Northampton should have put the match to bed before that crucial moment, the side has the self-belief to turn this run of form around.
“We’re inventing new ways to lose games of football, so it’s disappointing really – but at the end of the day we created enough to be past a seven-point lead,” he said.
“When you get a freak situation like that of an off-break off the post and a leg-spinner off the ground, it’s a bit hard to blame somebody for that.
“You’ve just got to get past those things. We had enough territory and possession to win that game, but we were inaccurate on back-to-back occasions when we needed things to stick to get us a winning margin.
“Sometimes when things aren’t going your way, they’re not going your way. It hasn’t got anything to do with lacking confidence, we just lack constant execution.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“I don’t think it’s got anything to do with confidence. The ball hits the post, goes one way and then bounces back the other, you’d be hard pressed to say whether a ‘confident’ or ‘unconfident’ side would deal with that.”
Saints ended Friday’s clash with 65% of territory on the night, but despite numerous opportunities did not manage to breach the Bordeaux defences – and Boyd admitted this proved very costly in what is a truncated European pool stage.
He added: “The attack is an interesting question. We’ve seen in the way teams are playing the game at the moment that tries are more difficult to come by.
“If we are going to point the finger at anything for the lack of ability to win on Friday, it’s probably that we should have scored more. We put ourselves into a position to score three or four tries, but didn’t, and we’ll need to put that right for next week.”