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LEICESTER 17 SAINTS 8 Collins frustrated but enjoying being back in action

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The full back lined up for his first action since November in the derby day, and along with the other back three players on both teams had a tricky time dealing with a stiff wind and boggy pitch.

But he came through the 80 minutes unscathed, and said that he was relishing being back in the fold.

“It was good to get some experience in that environment, especially as a young lad,” Collins told SaintsTV. “It was good to get out there and get 80 minutes. Some of the other lads will have come on in leaps and bounds as well.”

The team that started the 233rd East Midlands derby showed 15 changes from that which began the Champions Cup game against Racing Metro, including two debutants - Cam Dolan and Tom Ryder - with Matti Williams making his first start in the first team.

With Senior Academy hooker Reece Marshall and centre Rory Hutchinson also making their senior bows off the bench in the second half, and plenty more players with just a handful of first team appearances to their name, it was a relatively inexperienced squad which headed up the M1.

Leicester’s two tries came in the first half, forwards Sebastian De Chaves and Laurence Pearce both crashing over from close range.

But while the Tigers made the most of their two opportunities, Saints went into half-time with just Will Hooley’s penalty to show for their efforts. Teimana Harrison was pulled down just shy of the line, Cam Dolan was held up after a powerful 15-metre driving maul, and a series of five-metre scrums brought just a turnover.

Howard Packman did latch onto the end of a Sam Olver grubber after the break, but Owen Williams’s late penalty both sealed the win for the hosts and denied Saints even a losing bonus point.

But Collins says that the way the team responded to conceding an early try showed that there is plenty to build on ahead of the last third of the season, adding: “As a team we were frustrated to come away with a loss, but you have to take some positives.

“It’s the first time in a while that we’ve played together as a team and it takes some time to gel.

“But the desire in the team was good and we pushed Leicester towards the end. We worked hard around the pitch and even though we conceded some easy tries we were unlucky not to get the bonus point at the end.

“We’ll definitely be looking to come out all guns blazing next week.”

Saints host Wasps in the final round of LV= Cup pool matches next Saturday in a game that could decide both teams’ fates in the competition. Snap up your tickets at www.tinyurl.com/SAI-WAS-LV1415 and use Print@Home to save the admin fees and beat the match day queues.

And watch the full interview with Collins at www.youtube.com/thesaintstv

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