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Chris Boyd is director of rugby at Northampton Saints
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com
Chris Boyd is director of rugby at Northampton Saints
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com

Boyd: Work to do but we’re in the hunt

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd insists there is still plenty for Northampton Saints to work on despite posting a bonus-point victory over Bath on Saturday.

The men in Black, Green and Gold closed out the latest block of Gallagher Premiership matches in style as they ran in six tries at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens – with a brace from Juarno Augustus adding to early efforts from Rory Hutchinson and Tommy Freeman to secure the try bonus point before half-time.

And despite Bath hitting back just after the break, a second-half double from Courtnall Skosan sealed Northampton’s win and propelled the side up to third in the standings ahead of two Heineken Champions Cup clashes in the next fortnight.

But Boyd admitted the performance from Northampton left a lot to be desired in some areas.

He said: “I'm happy with the five points but the performance was a bit like the old box of chocolates – it was very mixed; some of it was good and some of it was atrocious. There was the odd sour lolly in there.

“The whole game was frustrating. The crowd were getting frustrated with how slow the set pieces were to get formed, and I don’t think Bath were in any particular hurry to play the game.

“We try to play the game with as much tempo as we can, but we were guilty of giving away penalties in that middle third which led to us surrendering a couple of soft tries that we're very grumpy about.

“There’s plenty of work to do. If people are going to score tries against you, you want them to have to earn them. We gave them let-outs through the middle third into or defensive area and it was too easy for them to score. It’s an area of our game that we need to work on.

“All our backs had patches of good play today, good touches, and all the forwards had their moments too but we didn’t play consistently well enough for long periods of time.”

Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby

Saints’ victory over Bath – their sixth of the league season – moved them up to third in the Gallagher Premiership after nine games.

But with the Heineken Champions Cup getting underway this Friday evening and an all-star Racing 92 line-up coming to town, Boyd knows that his side will face as tough a challenge as any in Europe.

“We’re happyish with where we are,” he added. “We look back at a couple of our performances and think we should have done better, but when you're in a marathon – which the Premiership is – the best place to be is in the front pack. We’re in the hunt.

“If the Premiership is a marathon, the European fixtures are probably a 100 or 200 metre sprint by comparison. We’ve drawn a pretty tough pool with Racing and Ulster but we’re looking forward to it.

“When you look at Racing’s back line, in particular, there’s some bling in that side.

“We’re going to have to impose ourselves upon them physically to stop them playing their game, otherwise they’ll be just about as good as anyone we’ve faced.”

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