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Wood: We need some soul-searching

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Tom Wood says that there needs to be a dramatic turnaround from the Saints squad.

The club captain returned from international duty to lead the Saints against Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens, and after being on the end of a 37-10 defeat to the Pro 12 high-flyers he made his feelings clear.

“We need a bit of soul-searching,” he told SaintsTV. “We’ve got some good club men that only want the club to do well but we need that collective buy in, we need that bit of belief, we need that bit of direction and the galvanizing that hopefully a result like this produces. It shouldn’t take a result like this, it shouldn’t take a pasting at home but hopefully it’s the catalyst we need because we have to turn it around pretty quickly.”

Saints conceded four tries in the last quarter of the match as Leinster made the most of the man advantage created by Dylan Hartley’s red card.

The sirens had been sounding among the Saints Nation in just the third minute when Leinster crossed for their first try, a seven-pointer added to be Isa Nacewa’s 11th minute penalty.

However Saints did not capitulate, fighting back with some outstanding defence on their own line, and then JJ Hanrahan setting up Ahsee Tuala for a try with a great long pass to the right wing to tie things up seven minutes into the second half.

But then came Hartley’s sending off, the floodgates opened, and Wood said that the lack of consistent pressure built up by his team was crucial.

“I was amazed we were still in the game at half-time,” he said. “It felt like we’d been blown away for the most part. But at half-time we were still in the fight and still had lots to play for. We came out after half-time, score a good try and we put them under pressure and we made a very good team look ordinary for a spell.

“When you play multi-phase and you’re dynamic and you keep them on the back foot, team’s make mistakes, their discipline goes and we scored as a consequence but over the course of the game we didn’t build any pressure.

“We didn’t sustain the pressure; we had fleeting moments where we did some good stuff and individuals got frustrated and came out and made a big hit or a strong carry but to beat a team like Leinster you’ve got to apply pressure and you’ve got to do it relentlessly, you can’t let them off the hook with loose offloads, passes to touch, kicks out on the full.

"We could have played really well and still lost to them because they’re internationals across the board, they’re a quality team and they love these nights, these big European nights, that’s what they target, they peak for those.

“The frustrating thing is that we just didn’t play. It was 20 minutes before we got into the game, before we showed any real fight, before we started putting a few hits in, before we started carrying properly and things like that. We talked all week about having a big start, not having a repeat of three years ago, and somehow we’ve fallen into a trap of doing exactly the same thing again.”