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Higgins: Confidence key for Saints and Wanderers going into second round of WR5s

Both Northampton Saints and Wanderers continue their WR5s season this weekend at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. 

Saints, who are currently second in the Premiership, and Wanderers, who are currently third in Division Two, will both be hoping to build on their strong starts to the season.

In the first round of action back in July, Saints won three of their four games while falling to local rivals Leicester Tigers in the final clash of the day.

It could be pivotal to their title hopes to turn that result on its head this weekend when the sides meet again, but coach Jamie Higgins is confident his side – who were crowned WR5 Premiership champions in 2022 – has the belief to do just that.

“It was disappointing taking the loss against Leicester Tigers, but it’s always going to be a close match with them, as they can probably be the biggest competition for us,” said Higgins. 

“They’ve got the experience there along with a lot of the GB team to give input and support to them. Here at Northampton, we’re still in a learning process and working our way forward.

“The players need to just have the confidence and knowledge that they can compete at that level, that they can beat Leicester.”

Jamie Higgins, Saints Wheelchair Rugby Coach

“We played against them again a few weeks back in the Midlands Development League, there wasn’t any sort of major changes to their line-up. We managed to take a five-goal lead against them early in the game, and then suddenly lost it on the last point. 

“So, it’s just about the players having the confidence that they can play to that level and just having a bit more autonomy about what they are doing.”

Northampton Wanderers have also enjoyed a positive start to the 2023 campaign, their first as a new side on the WR5s ladder. 

Three wins from five played so far in their debut WR5s appearance, along with an encouraging Midlands Development League outing, means that belief is growing within the squad according to Higgins. 

He said: “Again, it’s just about confidence. If you look at the players, we’ve been training and even those who are quite new, they can play at quite a high level and they can put Premiership players under pressure and create turnovers. 

“They just need to take that into their games against other teams. It’s a hard battle in training because everyone kind of knows the way you play.

“When you’re setting up squads within the team and you’re giving experience to new players in each squad, it’s a constant battle because they know what each person is going to do. So, it’s just fun getting them to understand and fight for wins.”

Wanderers will play against Norfolk Nights, Taunton Gladiators, Dragons, Brighton Buccaneers and Harlequins on Saturday, before Saints face Leicester Tigers, Stoke Mandeville Maulers, West Country Hawks and Bournemouth Lions in Sunday’s round of matches.

To view all of Saints’ and Wanderers’ fixtures and results for the 2023 season, please CLICK HERE.

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