Boyd's Saints 'excited' about three crucial Premiership clashes

Chris Boyd is looking forward to some crucial Premiership clashes in the next few weeks (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Chris Boyd is looking forward to some crucial Premiership clashes in the next few weeks (picture: Sharon Lucey)

While Exeter and Saracens are already running away at the Gallagher Premiership summit, the race for the places below couldn't be much closer.

With six games gone, there are just 12 points between third-placed Wasps and surprise basement side Newcastle Falcons, who finished in the top four last season.

So no team in that group of 10 clubs needs reminding just what three wins would do for them during this block of games during the autumn.

Saints start with a game against Wasps at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday before travelling to 10th-placed Sale Sharks and hosting Newcastle Falcons.

It is a crucial period of matches for Chris Boyd's men, who have won just two of their six league games so far, claiming 10 points in the process.

And Boyd said: "Wasps at home, Sale away and Newcastle at home - everyone understands the Premiership is a long competition and every game is key, but this little block for us really is.

"We need to make sure we're playing near the top of our game.

"While we've had a good, fun time in the PRC (Premiership Rugby Cup) for the past few weeks with the pressure off and you can experiment a little bit, we know we're now back into the serious stuff.

"The intensity has gone up this week."

Saints go into this weekend's game on the back of an agonising Premiership Rugby Cup defeat at Gloucester, who scored a last-gasp try to win 14-12.

It ended a run of three successive wins for the black, green and gold, who are now preparing for a first Premiership game since the defeat to Leicester Tigers on October 6.

"We're excited," Boyd said.

"We were disappointed not to get the result at Gloucester but we've had a satisfactory performance over the past few weeks in the PRC and the really nice thing about it is that it's given an opportunity for a number of young guys to have a crack.

"By and large, they have come up trumps and they can be really proud of what they've achieved."

Saints will be up against a Wasps side who have not won since September 28, losing five and drawing one of their past six matches in all competitions.

But Boyd, who will be shorn of 16 players due to injuries and international call-ups, said. "They've got a squad full of really good players.

"They, like us, will have key players away on international duty and they have a few injuries, like we do.

"It's a test of the depth of their squad and a test of the depth of our squad.

"They've been a consistently good side in the past three or four years, always in that top-four bracket, so we respect the history of Wasps.

"It's going to be a tough assignment."