Grayson confident Saints can get out of 'little spiral'

While Saints’ sobering streak took its toll on the players’ professional pride, you couldn’t help wondering what mental damage it was doing, especially to the younger members of the group.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 7:00 am
James Grayson

The black, green and gold is saturated with prodigious players who had displayed their potential in grand style during the first part of the season.

But when things started to go awry towards the end of January, they found it almost impossible to arrest the slide.

Confidence took a battering as defeat after defeat came.

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And with little time between the end of last season and the start of next, you are left to ponder just how much of a hangover there will be after a campaign that ended with Saints winning just two of their final 14 matches in all competitions before being forced to forfeit the final-day fixture at Gloucester.

“You can get into a little spiral after negative results and with a couple of weeks away we can refresh lads and come back in firing,” said fly-half James Grayson.

“We’ve got a couple of weeks’ pre-season blast and then we go straight into games, which is good for us.

“We’re just using the time to get a quick refresh and then get back in.

“We know not much is going to change - signings and things have already happened - and we can just get back on with our detail and understand how we’re trying to play.”

Saints only won once after rugby returned from self-isolation back in August.

Grayson started and shone during that game, steering his side to victory against London Irish at the Twickenham Stoop.

But that was as good as it got for Saints during a chastening conclusion to a campaign that promised so much but ultimately delivered so little.

“It’s tough, as it is for the fans watching,” Grayson said. “We know we’ve not been anywhere near where we need to be.

“We’re under no illusions that our skills and our game management and our general play has not been as sharp as it was.

“When the tide is against you, those lucky breaks that were bouncing for you six months earlier are going against you and the other teams are catching the ball and scoring.

“We just need to try to get our confidence back.”

Grayson was due to start at Gloucester on the final game of the season but that game was cancelled.

Nevertheless, it meant the holidays could start a little earlier than expected at Franklin’s Gardens, and the break between seasons is going to be more important than ever.

Grayson was due to jet off to Cyprus for a one-week holiday with his girlfriend as he sought to recharge his batteries.

But the 22-year-old would still have loved the chance to get hold of the Saints 10 shirt again at Kingsholm.

“It was going to be a young group who went down there - apart from Piers Francis - and we wanted to go down there and put our stamp on it,” Grayson said.

“It obviously didn’t go well for us after lockdown but that would have been a great opportunity to go and try to get confidence back for next season.

“We would have had Ollie Sleightholme back, JJ Tonks, Josh Gillespie and it would have been good to see how those boys went.”

With Dan Biggar likely to spend a long time with Wales over the next few months, responsibility is again set to fall to Grayson to navigate his team to victory.

And he admits he will have to improve his own performances.

“It’s been a bit up and down, as it has for the rest of the team,” he said.

“I’ve found playing with no crowds pretty tough.

“I’ve not played at the Gardens, but from watching it, I think having no crowds has not helped us at all.

“But it’s something we’re going to have to get used to because it’s not really going to change.”