George Pisi says that the Saints’ youngsters deserve praise for their development.
The Samoan international was the elder statesman of the midfield in last Friday’s Aviva Premiership win over Exeter, playing outside league debutant Rory Hutchinson and Harry Mallinder, who was making just his second start at fly half.
But Pisi says that he wasn’t worrying about any age differential, just concentrating on the game in front of him.
“Age isn’t really an issue once you get in the team, as we’re all playing and training each day together,” he says in this week’s podcast. “It’s about keeping them calm, not getting them too nervous in terms of playing their game – they’re there for a reason – and encouraging them, knowing that they’ve earned their place and are good enough to play.
“I was impressed by Rory. He’s a young kid that’s come through – you want to see that in players – and he’s taken what we’ve done in training into the game. You can’t ask for more than that from your 12 to step in and make a difference.”
Pisi had been substituted by the time Mallinder’s match winning penalty had gone over and Louis Picamoles had booted the ball into touch to bring the final whistle. Nevertheless he remembers the feeling all too well.
“Relief! The past few weeks we’ve been playing well but not finishing it off, and getting that win is good in terms of building for the next few weeks,” he added.
“There was a lot of pressure, but the positive thing that we could take out of those games was that we were playing well, getting a lot of chances but just not finishing them off. It’s worse if you’re losing and not creating chances, so we were taking positives and just trying to get it to click.
“If we can get on the right page and everyone’s doing the right things then we’ll score those tries.”
This week’s podcast also includes an extended interview with attack coach Alex King, who in Parents in Sport Week reflects on his own experiences growing up in rugby and how he’s finding life now his own son has taken up the sport.
The Saints are back at the Gardens on Saturday, October 15th, hosting Montpellier in the opening round of the European Rugby Champions Cup. Make your voice count by CLICKING HERE and booking your tickets now, using [email protected] to beat the match day queues and save the admin fees!