Northampton Saints - Forwards coach Dorian demands players regain winning mentality

The players may be different, but the message remains the same: win at all costs.

Forwards coach Dorian West has urged his Saints young guns to fire against Bath tomorrow and maintain the team’s winning mentality.

They may have lost 51-36 to Munster in the Heineken Cup last weekend, but that was Northampton’s first defeat in six games.

And they head to the Recreation Ground tomorrow hoping to make it three victories in as many games in the LV= Cup.

A Saints side containing the likes of Ben Nutley and James Craig smashed Saracens 36-6 back in October to start the Cup campaign with a bang.

And seven days later, the club’s England stars returned and helped Saints outgun Ospreys 33-22 and enhance hopes of qualification.

Next up it’s Bath, who are taking the competition seriously this season after seeing hopes of qualifying for next season’s Heineken Cup via the Premiership deteriorate.

The west country side left key players such as Michael Claassens and Francois Louw on the bench against Glasgow last week and they will be going all out for victory tomorrow.

But West expects Saints to do the same, despite the fact they will be shorn of their England aces, and he is eager to see his side regain their momentum following last week’s Munster mayhem.

“Whatever stage of the season, and who’s in the team and who’s not in the team, it’s important to be winning and to be building momentum,” said West.

“We’ve won five out of our last six games and we’ve been playing quite well so we need to keep that going and make sure we do as well as we can in the next two weeks.”

West is looking forward to throwing the likes of Nutley, Craig, Alex Waller and Tom Mercey in at the deep end tomorrow.

And he believes they will gain valuable experience ahead of more high pressure encounters in the Premiership in the next few weeks.

“They need to be playing under pressure in games like this to develop and it’s good to see,” said West.

“We’ve been really pleased with how our youngsters have performed.

“Young Jamie Elliott has done really well, Ben Nutley, Mikey Haywood’s been good. Alex Waller and Tom Mercey are there or thereabouts and we’ve got James Craig.

“There’s a whole group of youngsters we’ve got coming through and who need to play as much as possible.

“Obviously we’ll pick a team this week that blends some of that youth with some experience.”

Saints won the LV= Cup in March, 2010, giving the fans who travelled down to Sixways for the final against Gloucester a memorable day out.

The scenes of celebration at the final whistle dispelled thoughts that the competition means little to England’s elite, and West admits he would love to win it again.

“It’s good to win things,” he said. “We’ve won this competition before and we enjoyed doing it.

“Every game we play we try to win, and that’s the standards we set. We lost last week and we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure we win this week.”

As well as missing their England stars, Saints will be without young hooker Haywood, who has a shoulder injury, and Jon Clarke, who recently underwent a back operation.

Bath are missing Matt Banahan as he, like Saints duo Ryan Lamb and Paul Doran-Jones, is with the England Saxons, but a could be given to former rugby league player Kyle Eastmond.