West demands further improvement from champions Saints in 2015

MEN WITH A PLAN - the Saints coaching team of Dorian West (left) and Jim Mallinder

MEN WITH A PLAN - the Saints coaching team of Dorian West (left) and Jim Mallinder

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Dorian West has urged Saints to continue their impressive development into the new year.

The forwards coach believes the squad ‘turned a corner’ by winning the Aviva Premiership back in May and has been impressed with how they have dealt with defending their title.

Saints have won nine of their 11 Aviva Premiership games this season and 14 of their 17 in all competitions.

They sit at the summit of England’s top division and also head their Champions Cup and LV= Cup pools.

And ahead of the opening game of 2015, against Newcastle Falcons at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night, West was in reflective mood.

“I look back at my career and some of the teams I played in and do learn things along the way,” said the former England hooker.

“You experience league finals, European Cup finals, whether you’re winning them or not it’s all valuable to you.

“We felt we turned a corner in winning that first league title, and we did that because of some of the experience we did in the past.

“We’re not the finished article, the squad is always changing so there’s work to be done there, but we’re on the right path.”

And when asked about how happy he has been with Saints’ form this season, West said: “Some people were pretty quick to say we’d struggle and wouldn’t be able to cope with it, but we’ve got some experience in our squad, some experienced coaches as well.

“We’re working hard, we don’t sit back, there’s a great atmosphere about the place and the players are working hard for each other, the club and the fans.

“That’s all we can ask of them and we’ll carry on doing that.

“We were disappointed with the two league games we lost because they were both games we thought we could and should have won.

“We’ve had a good 12 months, we’ve learned a lot as a squad, we’ve gained some experience and we’ve done a lot of things we hadn’t done before.

“We’re growing and we just need to carry on doing that.”