Director of Rugby Chris Boyd insists that calm heads need to prevail for Northampton Saints in the coming weeks so his side can use their skillset to full effect.
The men in Black, Green and Gold have started off the new season with back-to-back defeats to Sale Sharks and Harlequins, but have put themselves in a position to record come-from-behind wins in both contests heading into the final ten minutes of the match.
However, Boyd admits Saints have been caught chasing the game and pushing too hard to create decisive moments, and despite having some senior heads out of the line-up, the Kiwi coach wants to see his players learn from these mistakes and stay in control when it matters most.
“We’re not an unskillful team, but when we got back to within eight points of Harlequins, some of our decision making was optimistic – we didn’t need to panic,” he said. “As an example, we took a quick-tap penalty and ended up turning the ball over.
“It was a similar story at Sale last week, but despite the fact again we talked about how we need to remain in control or calm when we’re trying to close a game out or chase a game, we went away from that.
“As you’d expect, there’s massive disappointment within the group. All high-performance environments prepare to win, and prepare to play well enough to win.
“We need to get the microscope over a lot of things which we’ve been doing constantly anyway and so we have to roll our sleeves up and work our way out of this.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
Saints did pick up their first league bonus point of the season in defeat on Saturday – with skipper Lewis Ludlam crossing twice, Nick Isiekwe burrowing over for his first score in Black, Green and Gold, and Rory Hutchinson marking his return from injury with a try.
Boyd added; “We have guys like Courtney Lawes, Mikey Haywood, Dan Biggar and Teimana Harrison all to come back into the side – all influential people – but at the end of the day your team has to be bigger than a few players.
“We’ve also had five or six guys in and out of the England Performance Squad as well. Some of those guys came back against Quins and haven’t played much rugby at all, so they were a bit rusty as well.
“We’ve got some people to come back, but we have got to be better than that performance.”