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Wood praises teammates after a tough clash with Montpellier

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Stephen Myler was heaped in pressure in the final play of yesterday’s European Rugby Champions Cup campaign opener and the captain, Tom Wood, praised him, as well as the Saints pack, for keeping their heads and holding out for a tough win over Montpellier Hèrault Rugby yesterday evening.

“Never in doubt, was it?” Wood joked last night with SaintTV about Myler’s game-winning kick.

“I have every faith in Stephen; that’s what we practise for all day, every day and I see him knocking them over in training every week so I was never in doubt.”

The Saints’ captain said his side had performed well and played some good rugby against a strong Montpellier side but that there is still plenty to work on in the coming week as a trip to Castres looms.

“We’ve still got a lot to learn; we can be tactically smarter at times, we can play in the right areas of the field and relieve a bit more pressure.

“We put ourselves under pressure at times again tonight but I just think in terms of the character of the team, the desperation to get the result and to muscle up against such a big heavy pack.

Wood praised the forwards for their strength throughout when wet conditions could have perhaps turned the game in the visitors’ favour.

“They’re a confrontational pack and when the rain came down I think they were licking their lips thinking it was going to turn into a real brawl which it did and they’d picked a heavy pack to do that so it played into their hands.

“But credit to our lads, particularly the front row and the guys up front, for digging in and keeping us in the fight and giving Stephen that opportunity as the end.”

Heading into Castres next week will prove another tough test for Wood and his side. The back row is confident that if Saints play their best brand of rugby they can push their hosts but notes that Saints need to be clinical if they are to be in with a chance of a win on the road.

“It’s very different playing in front of the Franklin’s faithful out here and when we go away from home we’ve got to control the game.

“We’ve got to play smart, box clever and as much as we’ve got to front up in the physical, which you have to do against big French packs, we’ve got to make sure we’re in the right areas of the field, make sure that we take the sting out of them and make sure that when we are able to apply pressure we’re doing it in the right areas of the field so it’s not wasted.”