Tom Vickers’ Saints preview: Victory a must in the Dragons den

FELLING DOWN - the Saints players look dejected following last weekend's defeat to Harlequins (Picture: Linda Dawson)
FELLING DOWN - the Saints players look dejected following last weekend's defeat to Harlequins (Picture: Linda Dawson)

September was superb. October was far from oustanding. November, as yet, has produced nothing.

And all that leaves Saints desperately needing to turn the tide ahead of what promises to be a decisive December.

Tom Vickers staff photograph

Tom Vickers staff photograph

Ulster (twice), Harlequins and Saracens all lie in wait, like problematic jungle critters in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

No one quite knows what to expect from those fixtures, except that they will push the Saints’ boundaries as much as any Bushtucker Trial pushes a celebrity contestant.

Okay, so enough of the television references, but the drama really is set to begin.

Make or break time is around the corner, but first a couple of hidden dangers must be negotiated.

Newport-Gwent Dragons, London Welsh and Sale Sharks may not be the scariest prospects the rugby world has to offer, but they are all capable of tearing up the script.

Saints will be expected to stop them doing just that, starting with the Welsh strugglers tomorrow (Sunday).

The Dragons have hardly been breathing fire this season, feeling the heat in each of the three competitions they are involved in.

They have won just two of their 11 games to date and won’t be expected to make it three from 12 at Rodney Parade this weekend.

But Saints have no space for complacency.

They have, after all, lost their last four games, and five out of six if you’re looking back as far as the start of October.

It’s been a torrid time for Jim Mallinder and his men, with criticism starting to stick to the players and coaching staff.

But it’s not yet time for fans to panic.

It may be by the time 2013 is seen in, but there’s a long way to go before then.

Some large obstacles need to be negotiated to ensure the second half of the season isn’t a total wipeout and a win – a good one at that – would be a welcome boost this weekend.

So although the LV= Cup isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a necessary dose of medicine, which could provide a welcome remedy.

And a win, resulting in an elevation in morale, could help ensure everyone at Saints isn’t left screaming ‘get me out of here’ by the time December rears its head.