Fraser Dingwall is calling on Northampton Saints to keep their faith in their processes on the field, after Sunday’s frustrating Gallagher Premiership defeat away at Harlequins.
The men in Black, Green and Gold were made to pay when giving Quins easy turnover ball at Twickenham Stoop, as the south-west Londoners opened up a first-half lead – and the young centre believes that trying to narrow the gap and chasing the game affected Northampton’s execution after the break.
Saints created a multitude of chances which gave them real hope of overturning the deficit, but – according to Dingwall – ultimately moving away from their gameplan was what stopped them from crossing the whitewash again, before a late breakaway score put some gloss on the scoreline for the hosts.
“We gifted them too many soft points and didn’t convert enough ourselves,” said Dingwall. “But our biggest issue was we went away from being ourselves.
“Our attacking shape and plan is good, and we will always create opportunities to score.”Fraser Dingwall
“The issue was we were trying to force things which didn’t need to happen, and by forcing things we gave them back the ball. Back in the first-half we gifted them way too easy a lead.
“We spoke before the game about how, against Harlequins, their transition attack is where a lot of their tries come from. Limiting that was always going to be big and, unfortunately, we played into their hands by turning the ball over deep in our own half.
“Chasing the game is a mental thing you have to resist; we need to be as process driven as possible. We know we create a lot, so we don’t need to force anything.
“These aren’t losses where teams have outperformed us. I think, if we play as well as we can, we beat Harlequins this week and beat Bath last week.
“We’ve got to go back to our process and get what we’re trying to do right – we will get opportunities, we will score points, and we will keep teams out.”
Despite the result, Dingwall did catch the eye at Twickenham Stoop on his return to the starting XV for the first time in 2021.
The 21-year-old recorded three try assists and impressed all over the park, but admits he took no consolation from his afternoon’s work without a win for the team to take back to Northampton – with Dingwall’s focus now on next Saturday’s opponents, Sale Sharks.
He said: “It’s tough. I’m happy to be back playing, this is my first start since Boxing Day. As I said to the other boys who aren’t playing, you’ve just got to take your opportunity when it comes.
“I’m happy in the sense I was able to try and do what I wanted to do, and get back playing, but it’s hard to take any real pleasure when the team doesn’t win.
“In a way Sale are a similar team to what we’ve played in recent weeks, and once again we’ll be driving our process and knowing that, if we perform, we can beat any side.
“It will be a big challenge since they are in a good run, but we’re looking forward to it.”