Sam Vesty has promised that some players we haven’t seen for a while will be part of a Saints team aiming to be more efficient at scoring points when Bristol Bears visit Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
International duty and squad rotation will be handing some players an opportunity after an away defeat to Bath that Vesty found “frustrating”.
Saints failed to convert territory and possession into points and this time there was no last gasp victory to snatch from the jaws of defeat.
Vesty said: “We had lots of pressure at their end and we didn’t turn it into points and yet if we find some space down the other end we can run the length of the pitch and score. We have got to be more efficient at their end because it makes the game easier.
“I think the belief that we can always come back is a good thing. We don’t need to two tries in the first ten minutes to win a game. We need to have the mindset over 80 minutes that we are going to do more good things than they are and ultimately that is going to pay on the scoreboard and I think that big picture mindset is the healthy one.
“It was a frustrating afternoon. We had the ball in the right areas of the pitch and our attack was blunt. We were inefficient at scoring. We kept asking the same question and to be fair to Bath they barred up really well defensively and dominated the breakdown. We have got to ask better questions and turn that possession into points.
“This weekend specifically I think we need to look at playing the space and finding the little holes. This is something we have been good at historically but I think we’re not all on quite the same wavelength at the minute. We’re not a million miles away, there are glimpses of us doing good bits but at the moment our turnover rate is too high. We are allowing pressure to be released at the wrong times.
“Bristol have got some real super-strengths and can hurt you anywhere on the pitch. We have got to be alive to that. We have got to try and prey on where they are not as consistent all the time and hopefully we will be able to find our game in terms of playing the right areas of the pitch and being efficient in attack and playing the space well.”
Mani Iyogun spoke of a determination to put things right running throughout the squad in training this week.
He said: “There’s definitely a sense we want to improve and get better. The Bath game was like a personification of the whole season for us. When we are playing well we are really good and when we play bad it is terminal. There are a lot of things we are doing wrong that are killing us rather than the opposition putting stuff on us. It’s definitely a feeling of trying to solve those problems and move on. We want to pay the fans back and put on a performance we are proud of. If we perform well then the results take care of themselves.”
With international dates coming up there is a new fizz to the atmosphere preparing for games.
“Training is always competitive and when the England boys are away there is even more competition in training. We have got so much strength in depth in this squad. You have got players likes Hinks and Ramms,” said Iyogun.
“We’ve had some injuries in the loose head department so I have had to shoulder some responsibility which I have loved. Once you get your second wind you are all right. You get your head down and get on with it. It is happening a lot more now. You are starting to see a lot more props going for 70 minutes or more.
“Every game is a new challenge. Mat Ferguson is really good at analysing week to week and trying to pick on weak points that we can go at. I think that has proved pretty steadfast in the last few games.
“We know that Bristol have a decent pack and we are not going to underestimate it. There definitely is a theme of concentration. If you switch off you get punished.”
The message is no different in the backs where they are expecting a Bristol side that is ready to play.
Olly Sleighthome said: “We know Bristol like to move the ball and we know they can play and we have got to find ways to attack that.”