Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has said that the Saints’ pre-season matches gave his side a good opportunity to test themselves ahead of the forthcoming season which starts tomorrow.
The Saints will welcome Bath to Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday for the opening match of the 2016/17 Aviva Premiership season, with Mallinder saying that a tough match against Castres followed by matches against Cornish Pirates, Rotherham Titans and Ulster were good for his side’s preparations.
Speaking to SaintsTV, Mallinder said: “I was really pleased; we managed to get some good game time for people.
“The trip out to France was tough; we played in 30° heat against a side who were playing the following week (in the Top 14), so it was a really good test.
“Last week we went away to Ulster and that was difficult. We had a thumping in the first half but came back well in the second half. We responded well and showed our fitness and our resolve so our pre-season matches have been a good test for us.
“Things haven’t gone all our own way but I think sometimes you need that in pre-season to make sure that you’re ready for the first week.”
Mallinder also described how activities away from the training field have been invaluable to the players, especially those who are new to the squad having joined over the summer.
“During pre-season it’s a great time to get to know some of the new lads and the trips we’ve had (to Pitsford Water and Rutland Water) are good fun. I think they’re really important just to get everybody together.
“We had some good times in France and did some activities together as well as training hard and I think that can only be good for the group and for the team.”