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Dingwall: Two points vital despite frustrating loss at Saracens

In the race for the Gallagher Premiership play-offs, every point matters – and Northampton Saints centre Fraser Dingwall was keen to emphasise just that after a breathless 42-38 loss at Saracens on Saturday. 

Saints looked in danger of being sunk at the StoneX Stadium, where they entered the closing stages 42-17 down following a chastening start to the second half in north London. 

However, their battling qualities came to the fore as they fought to the end, scoring three tries in the last nine minutes – two for Tom James and one for Matt Proctor – to earn two bonus points in defeat.

These allowed them to pull further clear of fifth-placed Gloucester, following their earlier defeat against Harlequins, in the nail-biting race to the league’s play-offs, and two points now separate the two teams ahead of the final round of regular-season fixtures. 

Dingwall said: “The boys are always aware that in the league, and particularly at the moment given how tight it is, any point is vital. 

“Getting one bonus point was good. To then get another was a huge bonus because it suddenly now means if we just simply win [against Newcastle] then we’re in the top four, irrespective of what goes on with other teams. 

“It’s massive that we came away with those two points, but the frustration is that we put our game on them when the pressure was off a little bit, when the game was kind of away from us.”

Fraser Dingwall

What added to Dingwall’s mixed feelings after the game was Saints not being able to build on their 10-9 half-time lead, which they earned despite having their backs against the wall for large parts of the first 40 minutes. 

Having survived the double sin-binning of Alex Coles and captain Lewis Ludlam, Chris Boyd’s side went ahead through Tommy Freeman’s try, only for three quickfire Saracens scores at the start of the second half to leave them chasing the game. 

Dingwall said: “The frustration comes from the fact we battled so hard and got so much out of that first half and then opened the door to them at the start of the second half just through a couple of lapses of concentration. 

“Against a top side, like Sarries are, they took their opportunities and suddenly we were kind of out of the game. But then we came back and dug out two points, so it’s a bit of a weird one to reflect on.” 

With the dust now settled following last Saturday’s drama, Saints will go into their match with Newcastle Falcons at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday 4 June with their fate in their own hands. 

Dingwall believes the fact they no longer need to chase a bonus point in that game, in addition to getting the win, helps matters even further. 

He said: “If it came down to one game at the end of the season, we would back ourselves to win it. 

“It takes some of the pressure off, not having to get the five points. It’s just about building for the next two weeks, coming out hot and winning our way into a semi-final.” 

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