After starting the Anglo-Welsh Cup off with an important win on the road at Newcastle Falcons, Saints head home tomorrow to host Gloucester Rugby in the second round of this season’s campaign.
This competition poses great opportunities for the younger Saints players, says Alan Dickens, but the defence coach said that Saints will not heap these new heroes in pressure despite the expectation that comes from their success in the Wanderers and elsewhere.
“There’s no added pressure on the lads,” Dickens commented on this week’s podcast.
“The boys play in the Wanderers game and any pressure comes from what they put on themselves.
“The lads who have come into the first team over the past few weeks, a lot of them have played for the Wanderers and England age groups, and with that comes a degree of expectation and nerves.
“They’ve coped with that and managed that, and that’s why they’re here.”
For Dickens, the Anglo-Welsh Cup is an important development tool for the club and allows the wider members of the squad to gain valuable game time against strong opposition.
“I really enjoy this tournament in terms of giving young players the opportunity to play.
“It also allows for people coming back from injury, as we saw last week, and we’ve had players on the fringe step up, too.”
Dickens noted that last week’s full intensity performance was an important one and that it is something Saints only want to build on coming into face Gloucester tomorrow.
“Christian Day was really pushing the positivity on the pitch. We were hard on ourselves in training, and come the weekend we were one team.
“That was apparent, and you saw that as we withstood the pressure in the second half with people working hard. That desire and commitment has been there all season.”