As Saints prepare to make the short trip to local rivals Leicester Tigers for the return of the Anglo-Welsh Cup this weekend, Alan Dickens says that Saints must use both the positives and the disappointments of last weekend’s defeat on the road to Montpellier in the European Champions Cup.
Dickens says that even though they were already unable to qualify for the next round of the European competition, Saints were disappointed with the result last weekend after putting in an impressive performance on the road in Montpellier.
“The thoughts straight after the game was one of disappointment,” Dickens told SaintsTV in this week’s SaintsTV Show.
“I thought we put ourselves in a position where we could have gone away and won that game but the positive aspect was that though they scored early on we fronted up and we really put Montpellier under a lot of pressure in that final twenty minutes of the first half where we eventually came away with they score from Lee Dickson.
“It was a disappointment because we didn’t quite get the result and had that try been given it could have been a different game. There are definitely a lot of positives to take from it; I thought the lads that went to Montpellier did an excellent job and were a real credit to themselves.
“We were under no illusions. Going to Montpellier was going to be a tough ask to come away with a win.
“We went there and the pleasing thing is that we implemented the game plan that we talked about in the week. But they’re a quality side, they’re third in the French Top 14 and we all know that playing in France is a tough ask.
“There were some really good performances and people played well but the feeling was one of disappointment ultimately at the end of the game.”
Switching back into the Anglo-Welsh Cup after ten weeks in other competitions, Saints hope to continue their unbeaten run as they take on Leicester Tigers in the second senior team derby day this season.
Dickens said that the competition is one that Saints relish, as it allows them to give their younger players important game time, and something that the team are hoping to succeed in with six of their International players are away from the club on Six Nations duty.
“We’ve always used the Anglo-Welsh as an opportunity to give game time amongst the squad,” Dickens commented.
“We had good games at Newcastle and then against Gloucester and I think it will be the same this week going to Leicester.
“It’s an opportunity to give people game time, it’s an opportunity to see how people perform at the next level up, so it’s a game we’re looking forward to playing.
“It’s something that the group that are here now, where we’re missing six International players, will talk about something that they focussed on during the Autumn Internationals, the lads will pull together, more so than normal, and have a real focus on this block of games for the foreseeable future.
“We must go up there with the focus on ourselves. We talked about the Anglo-Welsh Cup and we don’t know what kind of side we will face so in terms of analysis; there’s only so much you can do.
“There’s one or two ways Leicester could go: they could name a team similar to that that’s been playing over the last couple of weeks or they could change it around, we just don’t know.
“We’re going up there and yes it’s exciting because it’s a derby game and hopefully we can come up with the result we desire.”