Saints coach West: We need to clean up our act

WARNING SHOT - Dorian West
WARNING SHOT - Dorian West

Dorian West has urged Saints to ‘tidy up’ their discipline ahead of Friday night’s trip to Bath.

Northampton have suffered four sin-binnings in their opening two Aviva Premiership games and saw No.8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze slapped with a four-week ban earlier this week.

Van Velze was cited for a tip tackle in the 24-21 win against Exeter on Sunday - a game in which Rhys Oakley also saw yellow - and the South African pleaded guilty at an RFU hearing on Tuesday.

Van Velze was also sin-binned in the opening game of the campaign, at Gloucester, where, at one point, Saints were down to 13 men as Paul Doran-Jones was also punished for ill discipline.

West’s men came out of both games unscathed as they picked up two wins and nine points to put them fourth in the table.

But the forwards coach knows Saints can ill afford any more yellow peril against a Bath side who also boast a 100 per cent record.

“It’s one of those; we’ve played against two good sides who’ve put us under pressure,” said West.

“We’ve had a few concerns with how those games have been refereed in a two areas, those middle patches of the game where we’ve come under a little bit of pressure, but we’ve made a lot of mistakes ourselves that we need to tidy up a bit.

“But we’re happy with where we are and we’re working hard, trying to make sure we develop our game and make sure when we get to Europe we’re full on.”

In both of their first two matches, Saints had threatened to run riot. But sloppy spells gave Gloucester and Exeter chances to recover.

West believes rustiness has been a problem and he knows Saints will need to get on top early, and stay there, if they are to beat Bath at The Rec.

“We’re pleased with the results but performance wise, as you’d expect at this time of the year, we’ve been rusty in certain areas,” he said.

“We’ve let the opposition back into both games so we’re not 100 per cent happy with our performances, but the results are obviously what you’d want in the first two games of the season.

“It will be a good atmosphere on a Friday night down there. Bath have changed their coaching team so there’s fresh ideas and they’ll do things they haven’t done in the past so we need to make sure we’ve done our homework and we work hard to get on top of them.”