Luther Burrell says that there has been a lot of honesty in the Saints camp this week ahead of the Aviva Premiership to Harlequins.
In this week’s podcast the centre gives a frank assessment of last Friday’s game against Wasps – a performance he called “embarrassing” – and is fully understanding of the supporters’ frustrations in the stands.
There may be over half the Aviva Premiership season still to play, and a run of nine straight league games during the Six Nations period, but Burrell says that this is a massive period for the team if they are to push up the table and challenge for the top four.
“[Last Friday] was very disappointing,” he said. “As a group of players were felt really embarrassed coming off the field. People spend their valuable money week in, week out, coming to watch us perform and to perform in the way we did in the first 40 minutes was pretty embarrassing. We were very disappointed and we’re trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
“I remember we went through a similar run of form a few years ago and went on to go to Twickenham, and that has been something that we’ve spoken about. We know that many of our players have been in this position before and so our target is to pick up the points while our internationals are away.
“It’s a huge eight weeks to try and keep pushing and keep progressing up the league into the top four. At the moment we’re 10 points adrift, so we’re not too far away but we need to start winning games.
“We’ve got an opportunity at the weekend to go down to Harlequins to try and put things right. We’ve had to reflect on the [Wasps] game, and Jim and the other coaches have been tough on us to be honest as a group of players, because quite frankly we’ve not been performing the way we know we can.
“I feel we were getting some consistency in our game, particularly Glasgow, Scarlets and Exeter at home, and many of the games we’ve lost have been lost by very fine margins. Personally I’ve had three tries disallowed this season, and as a group we’ve had several more, so if these are given the momentum shifts and who knows what happens.
“When the world is against us, when our backs are against the wall, that’s when this squad plays its best and hopefully we can start to pull things around for ourselves.”
The full interview with Luther Burrell is in this week’s podcast, which also includes chats with attack coach Alex King and winger Jamie Elliott. Stream for free at www.soundcloud.com/official-saints-rugby or subscribe via iTunes by searching for ‘Northampton Saints’.