Northampton Saints co-captain Alex Waller believes some stern words may be needed this week to ensure his side properly learn their lesson after another lapse on Sunday allowed a 14-point lead to slip against Bristol Bears.
Despite the hosts building a 14-0 lead, Bristol struck twice in two minutes through Henry Purdy and Lewis Thiede – following a sin-bin for centre Rory Hutchinson – to win 20-14 at Franklin’s Gardens.
A Harry Mallinder try and nine points from the boot of James Grayson established Saints’ advantage, but the hard work of Chris Boyd’s team then unravelled as for the second time in consecutive weeks Northampton had to settle for a losing bonus point after being ahead – and Waller expects recriminations.
“At times we’re still looking pretty sharp but it’s not good enough as a whole.”Alex Waller
“It’s really disappointing. We threw away a 14-point lead, so there’s definitely a couple of honest conversations coming this week,” said the loosehead prop, visibly frustrated knowing that Saints’ last two Premiership fixtures have been lost in less than 10 minutes of game time.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose, especially after a 14-nil lead at half-time. It wasn’t good enough.
“You saw that we created a lot of opportunities. But a couple of times we made some fundamental skill errors, individual errors – at times we’re still looking pretty sharp but it’s not good enough as a whole.
“Knowledge is good, but execution was poor at times so that’s definitely something we’ll have to look at this week.”
But despite all that Northampton remain second in the Gallagher Premiership standings – just four points behind Exeter Chiefs – and as the league rumbles on through the Six Nations period, it is a trip to Devon that faces Waller and his teammates next weekend.
He added: “By the grace of God, we’re still second. We’ve been disappointed for the last two weeks but what a test to go and prove the character of this squad, to go down to Exeter and hopefully come away with a victory.
“That’s a challenge, a massive challenge and those are the ones you want to play in – especially with your backs against the wall when everyone’s probably written us off.
“There’s no rest in this league; you have to get straight back into it so we can’t dwell on it too much, just learn from it.”