Saints boss Boyd ready for another tough trip north
Chris Boyd may not have completed a full season at Saints yet, but he is already aware of the perils of a long trip north.
And not just because of the irksome roadworks.
Boyd took his side to Sale Sharks back in November and saw the black, green and gold edged out 18-13 in a scrappy encounter against a team that was bottom of the Gallagher Premiership at the time.
Now Saints head north once again, and once again they will face the club propping up the Premiership.
Newcastle Falcons, who are seven points adrift of 11th-placed Worcester Warriors, look doomed with only three games of the regular season remaining.
And the Falcons are approaching the last chance saloon as they prepare to host Saints on tonight (kick-off 7.45pm)
Consequently, Boyd recognises the challenge that will lie in wait for his team when they step out at Kingston Park.
"These games at this time of the year all have significance in different ways for different teams but everybody's told me that going to Newcastle is like going to Sale," said Boyd, who moved to Saints from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes last summer.
"Trying to get points out of that place is very tough at the best of times and given the situation we're in and they're in, it probably makes it even tougher.
"We're under no illusions as to what we're going to face on Friday night - the question is how we're going to react to what's coming our way.
"The going away from home bit is not quite so bad, but the journey up the old M1 has traditionally been the downfall of a lot of sides.
"Newcastle is a tough opponent at home and they're tough anyway because they beat us here on our own patch, which we were pretty dark about at the time.
"It's a tough game."
Saints go into tonight's game on the back of a dramatic 20-19 win at top-four rivals Harlequins last time out.
And Boyd's men are now just four points off the play-off places..
"We've certainly trained well this week but over many years I've worked out that there's not always a correlation between training and playing well," Boyd said.
"If you train well you've got a better chance, but we've certainly had weeks where we've trained poorly and delivered an outstanding performance.
"I've also had weeks where we've trained well and left a lot to be desired on the weekend.
"We need to make sure we turn up to Newcastle with our mindset absolutely crystal clear around what we need to do and how we're going to do it, otherwise it's going to be a tough day at the office."