Director of Rugby Chris Boyd called on his Northampton Saints side to work harder than ever this week to right the wrongs of an East Midlands Derby defeat.
The men in Black, Green and Gold were beaten by Leicester Tigers at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens for the first time since 2017 on Saturday.
Scores from Courtnall Skosan (two), Alex Mitchell and Alex Waller did at least earn Northampton a bonus point in defeat, but Boyd admitted Saints were at a low ebb after being outplayed by their local rivals.
“It was a tough day at the office – a big drop,” he said. “We conceded way too much in the first half and then we clawed our way back into the game.
“They went down to 13 men and we had a couple of situations where if we’d have got a little bit closer, it might have been a different game.
“But we continued to chase the game and paid the price. No complaints really – we were the masters of our own destruction, but well done to Leicester too, they are going very well.”
Saints had won four of their opening five league games, but were brought back down to earth with a bump by Tigers, who remain the only side unbeaten in the Gallagher Premiership.
And with a notoriously tricky visit to Sale Sharks ahead of them this weekend, Boyd knows his side have no time to dwell on an off-colour performance against Leicester.
He added: “We knew exactly what was coming from Tigers, and we didn’t deal with it. When you’re not winning collisions and aerial battles, it’s going to be a tough day at the office.
“We fought back well but didn’t get it right when we had that advantage. We got a couple of tries, but should have got a couple more.
“We also can’t put our game on the field if we keep giving the ball back to the opposition, or if we don’t have good front-foot ball. Those things are really fundamental in the game.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“We’re not the first side to lose a game because we’ve lost the physical battle, but we need to work hard at how we can deal with it.
“It’s the nature of professional sport and [it hurts] any time you get 50 points put on you, let alone by your Derby rivals.
“They are tough lessons for us to learn, and we’ll have to roll our sleeves up, work hard this week and go again.”