Saints must be much more consistent next season, says scrum-half Mitchell

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Alex Mitchell says Saints must be much more consistent next season.

The 25-year-old was in the thick of the action yet again last Saturday, scoring a superb try in the 38-15 Gallagher Premiership play-off semi-final defeat at Saracens.

Saints’ title challenge was halted after a slow start at StoneX Stadium despite a brave fightback after half-time.

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The game summed up the inconsistent nature of Saints' performances throughout the season, which ultimately cost Phil Dowson’s side any chance of a home semi-final berth.

Alex Mitchell scored for Saints at SaracensAlex Mitchell scored for Saints at Saracens
Alex Mitchell scored for Saints at Saracens

And Mitchell is under no illusions that this is what needs to change most if the black, green and gold are to have any hope of topping the table next term.

“If we look at the season as a whole, it’s obviously been very up and down, and unfortunately Saturday was the same again,” Mitchell said.

“We felt like we had a chance at 24-15 going into the closing stages, but we let them off from the kick-off and the game went away from us from there.

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“Saracens were very good defensively in the first half, and didn’t let us attack at all – we didn’t have any go-forward, struggled at the breakdown and with the referee, so that was frustrating and it left us a long way to come back.

“We looked after the breakdown better after half-time and got on the front foot with our carrying, which meant we could attack with our Saints shape.

“It was a really disappointing result, but we’ve done okay this season and it’s full steam ahead for next year now.

“We’ve shown this year that we can break the best teams in the Premiership down, and we just need to do it more often – that’s the key for us and hopefully we can crack it next season.”

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Along with the rest of Saints’ squad, Mitchell will now take several weeks off rugby before launching back into pre-season ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

However, the scrum-half will be hoping his standout performances this term – which saw him score seven tries in 19 appearances, bring up 100 caps for Saints, and named in BT Sport’s Premiership dream team – will earn him a shot at England’s squad for the Rugby World Cup this autumn.

Mitchell said: “Hopefully I can be involved.

"We get five weeks off rugby now to recharge the batteries, so I’ll enjoy that but try and stay fit so I can be ready if I am called into the England squad.

“It’s been a good year for me, both with Saints and then getting a few England caps as well.

"I want more and more so I’m looking to push on again next season and I’m loving every minute.”