Saints hoping pain brings gain against Worcester

Christian Day and his Saints team-mates will aim to bounce back against Worcester (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Christian Day and his Saints team-mates will aim to bounce back against Worcester (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Devastating is the word Christian Day used to describe last Sunday’s drubbing at Newcastle Falcons.

And the experienced lock says the mental pain he and his team-mates felt after the game was matched by physical hurt when they returned to training on Tuesday.

The Saints players were put through the mill after shipping five second-half tries to lose 46-31 at Kingston Park.

And there is a steely determination to iron out the obvious defensive issues when Worcester Warriors come to town this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

“I can tell you the players were hurting Tuesday morning, when we were made to hurt some more by the coaches,” Day said.

“When you’ve got a six-day turnaround, which is not ideal, it takes a day’s training away and you’ve still got people very sore from the weekend.

“But we do need to improve our focus and intensity in defence.

“We need to put right what hasn’t been right in the past couple of weeks in terms of our set piece defence and being exploited wide, which puts everything else into turmoil.

“We’re looking to be better this week and we know we’ve got a good group of players here so we need to make sure our focus is correct.”

Saints’ focus will have been sharpened by Worcester’s recent win against Saracens.

The Warriors beat the champions 24-18 at Sixways a couple of weeks ago, but they were defeated 48-32 in by Exeter Chiefs in an entertaining encounter on home turf last weekend.

And Day said: “We’re coming off the back of a defeat that no one’s proud of and we need to very quickly change our mindset to Worcester and the threats they’re going to bring this weekend.

“I wouldn’t say they’re an improved team, but they’re a dangerous team with some real quality players within their ranks and they’re playing with a bit of confidence.

“Worcester have always been a challenge for whoever they play.

“I’m not going to say they’ve improved because they pushed us all the way when we went down to theirs and they’re coming here with a point to prove.”

Saints survived a late scare to secure a nerve-jangling 18-17 success at Sixways back in November.

And nothing less than a win will do this week, with Jim Mallinder’s men now eighth in the Aviva Premiership table.

There is a desire to repay the support of the Franklin’s Gardens faithful, who have seen their side endure a tough season.

“I love playing here,” Day said.

“It’s a privilege to play in a stadium like this in a town that loves its rugby.

“We need to lift our performance levels this weekend.”