The Saints return to training this week seeking to build on the positives from last weekend’s outing at Sandy Park.
Although they returned home on the wrong end of a 12-20 scoreline the first 40 minutes had seen some outstanding rugby from the team, who scored two tries through Lee Dickson and Ken Pisi and had imposed themselves in all areas of the game.
“We played with the wind in the first half and did pretty well, scoring some good tries, defending well and going into half-time with the lead,” director of rugby Jim Mallinder told SaintsTV.
“There was some good work from our set piece, we kicked accurately and counter-attacked well to take our opportunities when they came.
“But discipline let us down in the second half. We didn’t get any help from the referee in a couple of crucial decisions that went against us and it was disappointing not to get anything from the game.”
Even though Exeter dominated the second half, spending long periods camped on Saints’ line, they only scored the one try, relying instead on penalties to secure the victory.
And Mallinder says that this, too, is something that can be used as a fillip by the players.
“We defended for long periods of the game, and it’s always hard when you go a man down,” he added. “Alan Dickens has been working very hard and we’re not conceding many tries, but we’ve got to look to improve our discipline.
“We’ve got to move on quickly and look forward to Harlequins. We’ve been playing well in recent weeks, are not down and out and we’re still in the mix in the championship.”
Full back Ben Foden was one of the key figures in Saints’ promising attacking play, and he, too, cannot wait for the chance to get back to winning ways.
“Winning five out of seven games is positive, but we know we’ve got to get some more points from somewhere,” he said. “We’ve got a few more fixtures at home where we’ll hopefully be able to see those games out. If we can keep ourselves in the top four then there’s all to play for.
“We’ve got to make sure that we work hard, steady the ship and are ready to go on Sunday when Quins come to the Gardens.”
Tickets remain available for Sunday’s big game against Harlequins. Every voice counts in the battle for the Aviva Premiership play-offs, so head to www.tinyurl.com/SAI-QUI-1516 to book online, using [email protected] to beat the match day queues and save the admin fees!