With their last run out against Harlequins ending in a win but feeling like a loss, Saints come into this weekend’s European Champions Cup play-off semi-final against Connacht fighting to keep their hopes of top-flight European rugby alive.
Forwards coach Dorian West says that despite getting the win against Harlequins, Saints were disappointed not to be able to hold their guests out and earn automatic qualification for next season’s European Champions Cup.
“We were frustrated,” West commented.
“I thought we played a lot of good rugby but we didn’t control the ball very well in certain areas of the pitch which stopped us from scoring a few more points.
“I thought Harlequins were quite street wise in how they defended, on another day they might have been in a bit more trouble with the referee.
“But on the whole we played pretty well, we won the game but we came up short in the league and that was disappointing.
“We prepared to win the game first and get the required amount of league points to secure is automatic qualification but what’s happened has happened.
“We’ve had a good week this week, we’ve trained properly, we’ve prepared well for the game at the weekend against Connacht and we’re looking forward to it.”
Looking ahead to playing Connacht, a side Saints have not faced since 2009, West said that while there is an element of uncertainty about their opposition, Saints have prepared well and are looking forward to the challenge of a new opponent.
“There aren’t familiar names on the team sheet, we’re not facing people we play against week in week out. But we’ve got plenty of footage of their games, we’ve analysed them well.
“We know what they do, what they have done in the past, but obviously all that only goes so far because you need to be prepared for anything on the day.
“They could change what they do. But we have had a good look at them and we know what they’re likely to do. We’ve prepared well.”
Tickets for Saturday's crucial Champions Cup play-off - which kicks off at 4pm at Franklin's Gardens - are now on general sale. Book online for just £19 for adults and £1 for juniors by CLICKING HERE