Saints’ single-minded approach can bring success, says Pisi

Ken Pisi (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Ken Pisi (picture: Sharon Lucey)
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Ken Pisi believes a single-minded approach will enhance Saints’ chances of retaining their Aviva Premiership crown.

With the LV= Cup and Champions Cup bids having reached their conclusion, Jim Mallinder’s men now only have one piece of silverware on the agenda.

And with a 10-point lead at the top of the Premiership table, they are in a good position to secure a home play-off semi-final.

They head to Exeter Chiefs on Sunday for the first of a four-game run-in, which will be punctuated by two rest weekends, when the Champions Cup semi-finals and final will take place.

And Pisi said: “Now we’ve only got one focus and that’s the retain our Aviva Premiership title and it will help the boys to have a couple of weeks off.

“It will freshen everyone up and help them get away from rugby to refocus.

“It’s a tough schedule, not only physically, but mentally. At times, it’s tough getting up for training and you just need that little break to clear your mind a bit.

“But at the same time, it’s our job and we love doing it - we’ve just got to mentally get there.”

Saints’ conclusion to the regular season could be easier as they face three play-off hopefuls - Exeter, Saracens and Leicester - as well as relegated London Welsh.

And Pisi knows this weekend’s trip to Sandy Park is important for his side as they bid to boost morale after last Saturday’s 37-5 drubbing at the hands of Clermont Auvergne.

“Exeter are a bit like Clermont - they like to play with the ball and they’ve got some good, strong runners,” said the Samoan wing.

“We’ve got to target them early, shut them down and keep their crowd quiet.

“If we can win this it will build our confidence up again, leading into the last games.”

Exeter are the only English team to have won at Franklin’s Gardens this season, securing a 24-18 success in Northampton in November.

But Saints have a good record at Sandy Park, winning there on a number of occasions since the Chiefs were promoted to the top flight.

And Pisi said: “It’s quite similar to where we were last week, but we’ve won tight games there and we know we can do the job.

“It’s going to be an exciting game.

“Exeter are a quality team but we’ve got the players to do it.

“The boys are looking for a reaction and we’ll see what happens this week.”