Lack of game time so frustrating for Saints squad members

Tom Collins returned from injury in the game at Sale Sharks on January 27 but has not featured for Saints since (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Tom Collins returned from injury in the game at Sale Sharks on January 27 but has not featured for Saints since (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Alan Dickens says there is a lot of frustration at Franklin's Gardens, with a plethora of players currently not getting any game time.

With the exception of Alex Waller and James Craig, Saints have largely had a fully fit squad to call upon during recent weeks.

And that means there are numerous first-team squad members who are available but not able to get any minutes under their belt.

The Wanderers have not had a Prem Rugby A League fixture since the final day of 2017 and they do not play again until the April 2 clash with Wasps.

And Dickens said: "To be honest, it is frustrating for the coaches and management team and for the players.

"You can see in training that the players are frustrated.

"The frustration boils over because ultimately they are professional rugby players and they want to play rugby.

"It is difficult for them and we always find this at parts of the season.

"There are no A League games at the minute because of the international fixtures and the strains that puts on clubs.

"We're in a position where we could play a couple of second-team games if we had teams to play against."

One man who is among the group of players desperate for some game time is Tom Collins.

The wing began the season in style, starting Saints' first six games, scoring twice.

But since returning from the foot injury he sustained playing for the Wanderers in November, he has barely featured for Saints.

Collins made his comeback in the Anglo-Welsh Cup win at Sale on January 27, but has not been able to break into the match-day squad since.

And Dickens says that is simply due to the amount of options Saints have had at their disposal in recent weeks.

"Tom Collins has been fantastic," Dickens said.

"He started the season brilliantly and he was very unfortunate he picked up an injury and it went on a fraction longer than we thought.

"Recently, he's been unfortunate that some of the other wingers have picked up their performances.

"We saw last weekend that George North came back (for Wales) and was fantastic, and Ben Foden is equally good anywhere along the back three.

"Ken Pisi has put in some good performances in recent weeks and we've got some competition there.

"It's unfortunate for Tom, but he's a fantastic player who is exciting to watch when he's on his game, and when he gets his chance, I'm sure he'll take it."