Despite earning a 22-20 win over Harlequins in the last regular game of the Aviva Premiership season yesterday, Saints now have to wait for the results of the European Challenge Cup Final next weekend to see if they have a chance of securing European Champions Cup rugby next season.
Courtney Lawes said that while the situation is a tough one for Saints the side will stick together and handle whatever comes their way as a squad.
“It’s obviously tough to come seventh,” Lawes said after yesterday’s game.
“It’s tough after having so many opportunities this season to do better but it is what it is now and we need to just stick together, see what happens next weekend and go from there.
“It’ll be strange waiting but it doesn’t change much for me personally and the other boys that are going on tour. For everyone else though it will definitely be strange.
“You don’t know whether you’re coming or going at the moment but like I said we’ve just got to stick together, stay positive, train well this week and see what happens.”
For Saints to make it through to the European Champions Cup qualification play-offs, Stade Francais must beat Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup final on Friday, May 12th. Should Gloucester win the final they will automatically be entered into the play-off games ahead of Saints, who would, if that were the result, be playing European Challenge Cup rugby next season instead.
Lawes says that while Saints’ fate is up in the air regarding their European rugby the side are thinking about next season already and how they can improve their fate with the 2017/18 campaign.
“It’s a strange situation to be thinking about cheering on a French team,” Lawes commented.
“But we want to be in the Champions Cup next year and hopefully we get the opportunity to do that.
“We’ve certainly performed in patches this season but consistently we haven’t had the ability to put away games when we’ve been in the lead.
“But I don’t think we’re necessarily that far away from the top four. I think in terms of the players we have here; we could easily be a top four team.
“Things haven’t quite gone our way this season and there are certainly things that we have to address for next season but as long as we do that I feel positive that we can pull it together next year with the ability we have in the team.”