Director of Rugby Chris Boyd insists being awarded league points is no consolation for matches being cancelled, with his Northampton Saints side desperate to scrap for every inch on a congested Gallagher Premiership table.
The Men in Black, Green and Gold saw their third league fixture of the campaign called off due to Covid-19 last Saturday, with opponents Newcastle Falcons returning positive test results during the week.
Saints have been awarded two wins and one defeat (and consequently ten Premiership points) from the three cancelled fixtures against Falcons, Leicester Tigers and London Irish.
But, after three wins on the bounce against Worcester Warriors, Gloucester and Wasps, Boyd’s side sit fifth in the standings – just two points outside of the top four.
And the Kiwi coach was quick to shut down any notion that Northampton are happy to take the victories without competing out on the field, with every point on offer crucial in the fiercely competitive Premiership.
“We’ve had three cancellations now and you don’t have to be Einstein to work out that you could get anywhere between zero and 15 points from those three games,” he said.
“If someone had said before we were due to play that they would give us ten from those games, we wouldn’t have taken that.
“You always go into every match with the optimism to win, and win well, so we wouldn’t take any number of points because we want to play.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“It’s very frustrating that we’ve had our third Covid cancellation. We know once it sneaks into your bubble it can be problematic, but it is what it is and we need to be exemplary and cautious about that, because we just want to play.”
Saints travel to Devon this weekend to take on the reigning Premiership and European Champions, Exeter Chiefs, at Sandy Park.
But when it was suggested that last Saturday’s cancellation would allow Saints some crucial extra rest ahead that clash, Boyd added: “We would rather have played. The boys were terribly disappointed on Friday when the news broke that we weren’t playing.
“We prepared well last week in difficult conditions; it was very cold and there was a lot of snow on the ground, but we had a good, enthusiastic training week in spite of that.
“Then to find out on Friday that we couldn’t play was disappointing. We just hope both Exeter and ourselves get through our testing from Monday morning and our next fixture can go ahead on Saturday.
“We know that going to play Exeter, in Exeter, is probably as hard as it gets for anyone at the moment. They have a few guys missing through the internationals or through injury, so they’re not a full strength, but nor are we.
“We’ll go down there knowing it’s the toughest assignment we have, but we go down there with the ambition to win.”