After claiming their second last-minute victory in as many weeks, centre Matt Proctor says Northampton Saints' ability to grind out the win at the death is testament to the side's growing maturity.
The 28-year-old All Black crossed the whitewash for the second consecutive week in Saints' dramatic 23-21 victory over London Irish, helping the side maintain their unbeaten record so far in the Gallagher Premiership campaign.
Northampton had to battle hard to earn four league points in the rain at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens, and Proctor was the first to admit that the game was far from perfect; but the Kiwi centre believes that the side's ability to hold out until the final whistle shows Saints' growth.
“It was a true test of how our season's going,” said Proctor
“How we perform at home, we want to make it a bit of a fortress of this stadium and I think we did that today. It wasn't the best game but we got the win and that's the main thing.
“We didn't help ourselves. We played a good 20 or 30 minutes at the start of the game but we got a bit sloppy and let them into the game, and I guess that was a bit of a theme of last season that we're trying to get rid of.
“And I think that shows a bit of growth about us, that we were able to hang on in the end there and eventually get the win.”Matt Proctor
“We've got a young team and I feel like we're definitely maturing a bit now which is pleasing to see. But in saying that, we've put a lot of work into the last five or ten minutes of the game. It's something we've been working on a lot out on the training field and it was pleasing to see that come through.”
Saturday's win over Irish saw Saints win their first three matches of a Premiership season for only the fourth time (2010/11, 2012/13, 2019/20 and 2021/22), but try-scorer Proctor knows there is still a long way to go in this campaign.
He added: “It's always good to get over the line but I'm just happy to be getting consistent game time, that's the main thing for me.
“Hopefully, it's a start. There's a long way to go but it's definitely been a good start.”