Two-try James says Saints didn't know score at Twickenham before facing Saracens

Tom James says the Saints players did not pay any attention to events at Twickenham before taking on Saracens on Saturday.

By Tom Vickers
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 7:00 am
Tom James scored twice for Saints against Saracens
Tom James scored twice for Saints against Saracens

And the scrum-half is happy that he and his team-mates now have their destiny in their own hands going into the final game of the season.

It was a pivotal day in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday as fourth-placed Saints travelled to second-placed Saracens and fifth-placed Gloucester took on third-placed Harlequins at HQ.

As it turned out, results went in Saints' favour as they managed to salvage two bonus points in a 42-38 defeat to Saracens just a few hours after Quins had come back from 24-7 down to win 28-24 against Gloucester.

It means Saints go into the final-day game at home to Newcastle Falcons on June 4 sitting two points clear of Gloucester, who will host Saracens.

But James, who came off the bench to score twice last weekend, says he and his team-mates didn't know how things had unfolded at Twickenham before they took to the field for a 5.30pm kick-off at StoneX Stadium.

"We went into it a bit blind and we didn't want to treat the game differently because of the Gloucester result," James said.

"Towards the end we knew our target was to get a bonus point out of the game and we kept it on at the end and played some really good attacking rugby to come away with two bonus points.

"You take a lot of positives out of it, not only the last 20 minutes but that first half when we were down to 13 men and we grafted really hard against a top quality side.

"There are plenty of positives and we're looking forward to giving our all in the final game.

"At the start of this six or seven-week block we said we wanted it to be in our hands going into the last game, and we've done well enough so that we go into that game against Newcastle knowing our destiny is in our own hands.

"We're not relying on any other results and that's where we want to be.

"It's Premiership rugby so there are no easy games at all, and Newcastle can be a really tough outfit.

"You have to treat it like any other game and yes there's pressure, but you have to enjoy it and go in all guns blazing going into it.

"There are times this season where we've lost a few and if you'd said you had to win that last game to take fourth place we'd have taken it.

"We're looking forward to it."

Though they roared back from 42-17 down in the final 10 minutes to take those two bonus points, James says Saints were frustrated with how things unfolded against Saracens.

"The end result is that we came away with two bonus points so we're pretty pleased with that, but the frustrating thing is that at the start of the second half we gave them too much time and space," said James, who had seen his side earn a 10-9 half-time lead.

"The things we spoke about at half-time, we didn't do and they are a quality side that put us away for a few tries so it's frustrating.

"You have to take your hat off to them, but the frustrating thing is that we showed in the first half we can keep it pretty tight with our kicking game and defence.

"But those 20 minutes showed that against a side like that, if you're not on the top of your game they will make you pay."