Saints just weren’t in this one. The opening match of a Heineken Cup campaign, at Franklin’s Gardens under the Friday Night Lights, should have been more of a cauldron but somehow it didn’t turn out that way.
I’m not just talking about the mistakes and fumbles, it was the whole thing including the crowd, as though this bug that is going round had sucked a little bit of belief out of the air.
It was a bit like a visit from the Real Madrid of rugby and Finn Russell was as instinctive and inspired as ever. However when things went right for Saints it was more like an agonising glimpse of what could have been rather than a sense things were turning in our favour.
Skosan, Dingwall and Ludlam have the consolation of standing out on a day when Saints did not do themselves justice.
If Ludlam’s harshly disallowed try had remained and if one or two of Racing’s softer scores had been prevented things could have looked a lot different, but that wasn’t how it happened.
It makes you realise what a valuable asset the Wanderers were – a magic box of future talent readying themselves for call up – and we can only hope that the A-league competition gets restored in the future because the whole club seems to be stronger when it is functioning.