Skipper Ludlam: Saints are starting to relish the pressure moments

Skipper Lewis Ludlam believes Saints' sensational comeback success at Bath showed the players are starting to relish the pressure moments.

Lewis Ludlam
Lewis Ludlam

At 31-12 down with 15 minutes to go, it looked like the Gallagher Premiership play-off bid was fading.

But Saints produced the most incredible of recoveries, scoring four tries late on to not only win the game 36-31 but bag a bonus point, too.

It propelled them into the top four on a weekend that Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs both lost.

And now Saints will look to take another step towards securing a place in the end-of-season shootout when they host champions Harlequins on Friday night.

“There wasn’t any particularly harsh words spoken at half-time, that’s not really the coaches’ way,” said Ludlam after the win at Bath.

“But they all came in and it was very process driven, and we worked out what we needed to do.

“I still don’t think we managed to put that in place for a long period in the second half but a lot of the answers came from the boys there and from intent, wanting to haul ourselves back into the came.

“We talk in the week about pressure and wanting to enjoy these must-win matches, and I think the final 20 minutes is one of the first times that we’ve truly felt that this season.

“We’re still treating every game as knock-out rugby still and deliberately not looking too far ahead.

“Quins at home is that next challenge for us; it’s a tough challenge but there’s heaps of confidence within the group at the moment – the boys are really starting to believe that when the chips are down, we can put in the performances that we need to.

“It’s just being able to do that from the first minute, that’s a feeling we’re trying to create.

“This team has never lacked character at any time this season, but we have lacked control at times and that was the case during the first 60 minutes of this match which is something we have to put right.

“We used our get-out-of-jail-free card there, and we won’t get another one, so we can’t afford to have another 60 minutes like that for the rest of the season.

“Any time you step on the field and play like we did, you’re going to get stung. Lucky for us, it wasn’t too far gone and the way we dealt with them going down to 13 players – keeping the ball on the field and going at them – was pleasing.

“We didn’t get our game going in the first half and momentum kept swinging both ways. We need to get better at holding onto momentum once it’s in our favour, and we couldn’t do that for long periods during the first 40 minutes in particular.

“That’s something we’ll look at but for now we’ll celebrate this win.”

Saints seemed to step up several gears after Brandon Nansen was stretchered off following some lengthy treatment at The Rec.

But Ludlam insists that his side didn't need the Nansen injury as extra motivation.

“There’s no shortage of motivation within the group. During that long stoppage, we were looking at three areas of our game we needed to improve, and we knew we’d be in business if we got those right,” Ludlam said.

“We’re doing it for the entire 57-man squad of players, not just the guys that were at the Rec.

"It’s a really tight group, everyone is training hard every day trying to push the season forward, and the tighter this squad gets the more we will come out on the right side of matches like Saturday's.”