Saints skipper Ludlam has no desire to rest as he gears up for Ulster battle

Lewis Ludlam says he has absolutely no desire to rest as he gears up for Sunday's Champions Cup clash with Ulster at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens.

By Tom Vickers
Saturday, 15th January 2022, 7:00 am
Lewis Ludlam
Lewis Ludlam

Ludlam has started each of Saints' past seven matches in the seven shirt, often completing the full 80 minutes.

The indefatigable flanker was named Gallagher Premiership player of the round last weekend as he skippered his side to a superb 44-8 victory at Newcastle Falcons.

And Ludlam's form just gets better and better as he looks to propel his club to success this season.

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Champions Cup matches against Ulster and Racing 92 now lie in wait, but Ludlam has no desire to take a breather at any point.

He said: "No, not at all. I'm always keen to get on the field, no matter when that is, especially at home in what is basically knockout rugby for us now.

"The pressure's on and it's a really exciting place to be. It's the reason you play the game.

"We're playing against a great team, who have beaten us recently, and it's not one you want to miss out on."

As Ludlam references, Saints have been beaten by Ulster very recently. They suffered a 27-22 defeat in Belfast in December.

So what makes the captain think his team can prevail on this occasion?

"I just don't think we've played to our full potential yet this season," Ludlam said.

"I feel like there's a massive amount still to come from us.

"You always back yourself, even against quality opposition.

"I feel like we've been building for the past four or five weeks, we've taken learnings and we're excited.

"We've got the bit between our teeth now and there's no better opportunity than against Ulster at home to prove it."

Saints gave Ulster a sizeable headstart at the Kingspan Stadium, and they know they can't afford to do that again on Sunday.

"The thing about quality opposition in Europe is that when you give them opportunities, they're clinical," Ludlam said.

"We can't afford to switch off for one minute in this game because we will be punished.

"I feel if we stay in the moment for 80 minutes and play to our potential, there's no reason we can't go out there and get a result this weekend."

Saints had lost four games in a row in all competitions before heading to Newcastle and flaying the Falcons last weekend.

And Ludlam was delighted with the response of his side.

"It was a really important result for us against a team who are historically very good at home," he said.

"It was good to go there and get a result.

"The really pleasing thing for me was the way we conducted ourselves in the week around training.

"We went out and showed that we were controlled, trusting in our system, able to defend for long periods of time and it gave us the opportunity to get the ball back and put our game on them.

"It was a pleasing weekend all round."