Van Velze says Saints won’t be pressing panic button

GJ van Velze
GJ van Velze

GJ van Velze says no one at Saints is ‘pressing the panic button’ ahead of Sunday’s clash with title rivals Saracens.

Northampton suffered an 18-9 defeat to Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday, their fourth home defeat in five games.

It saw them slip to fifth in the Premiership standings and with away games against Sarries and Exeter in the next two weeks, Saints hopes of reaching the play-offs could take a hit.

But South Afican No.8 van Velze is refusing to feel anxious and he remains philosophical about his side’s current situation.

“There’s a lot of quality in the team,” he said. “We know we made errors last Saturday, but none of those errors are things we can’t make right.

“We turned it around after the Ulster home game so there’s no reason to press any panic buttons, we’re on it. We know we weren’t there on Saturday but we will be this week.”

While van Velze is not worried about Saints’ ability to trouble the best teams, he does admit he still has plenty of work to do to reach his personal potential.

The 26-year-old moved to Northampton from South African side Blue Bulls during the summer and has since set about making the No.8 shirt his own.

And van Velze, who scored his first Saints try in the win at Ulster two weeks ago, said: “There’s still a lot I need to learn. I still make a lot of errors off the ball and there’s a lot of hard work but I’m enjoying my rugby now.

“It’s just a pity I went off so early against Ulster the week before last but I’m enjoying it. It’s always a challenge for me.

“I’m not used to weather like we had on Saturday, that was a first for me and I can’t think of it getting better in January, February and March, so that’s something for me to work on.

“But I’m settling in really well.”