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Boyd: Packed schedule influencing team selection

With the games coming thick and fast after the Gallagher Premiership’s return last weekend, Chris Boyd says Saints’ coaches have had to plan ahead with their team selections for a congested calendar.

Six days after a home bout with Wasps, Saints travel to London Irish on Saturday, with another Gardens outing following hot on the heels next Wednesday against Bath.

“We’ve been running for the last six weeks in two teams – Green and Gold,” Boyd explained.

“When we looked at the draw, there’s usually a three-week period where you go Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday, followed by a week in between games. Unfortunately for us, we go Sunday-Friday [after the first three weeks], so with the five-day turnaround we’ve had to look closely at the teams we’re coming up against and pick our sides accordingly.

“We’ll mix it up a little bit going forwards, but we’ve essentially got two sides to tackle this block.”

Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby

Among a raft of changes this weekend, Saints welcome new faces to their forward pack in Nick Isiekwe and Shaun Adendorff, and Director of Rugby Boyd is hoping to see the two debutants hit the ground running.

He said: “It’s a big opportunity for Nick and Shaun and they’ve both trained really well. We didn’t want to get them involved last week as they’ve only been here for a shortish period of time, so we didn’t want to throw them in too early, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can bring us.”

One of the key talking points leading up to the return of rugby was how summer conditions would influence matches.

It was widely assumed that dry ball and firm tracks would suit Boyd’s Saints, but with a rainstorm hitting the Gardens last Sunday and more inclement weather expected in Twickenham, plans will change.

“I think it’s an unsettled time with Covid-19 and it’s also an unsettled time with the weather," Boyd added. "We’ve just got to roll with the punches and what will be, will be. We’ll have to be ready to make adjustments for whatever weather there is.”