"We just didn't deal with it" - Saints boss Boyd reflects on Exeter barrage

"We knew what was coming, we just didn't deal with it."

By Tom Vickers
Sunday, 23rd February 2020, 3:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd February 2020, 3:35 pm
Sam Simmonds scored one of Exeter's eight tries
Sam Simmonds scored one of Exeter's eight tries

That was Chris Boyd's appraisal after Saints suffered a chastening 57-7 defeat at table-topping Exeter Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.

The black, green and gold conceded eight tries in the final 60 minutes of the match as they slipped to fourth in the Gallagher Premiership standings.

Saints have now lost three league games on the spin ahead of next Saturday's home clash with Saracens.

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And Boyd said: "We got through to 34 minutes and it was 8-0. We had the cavalry (Mike Haywood, Alex Waller, Owen Franks and Lewis Ludlam) ready to come with the changes we intended to make at half-time, and we did.

"But 8-0 became 22-0 in that very short period before half-time and in the second half we probably chased the game too much.

"Fifty-seven points is horrible but 27 would have been horrible as well so I'm not too worried about the fact we made some mistakes chasing the game.

"We talked about the fact that if you make mistakes in the middle third, you end up in your back third and they squeeze you.

"We had a real intent to be disciplined, well organised and accurate but even in that first 34 minutes when we were only down 8-0 we dropped the ball four or five times.

"We gave away some soft penalties, we got penalised at the scrum a couple of times and that left to field position.

"When you play Exeter, you can't afford to give them the ball and the territory at the same time.

"We knew what was coming - we just didn't deal with it."

Saints missed an alarming amount of tackles and struggled in the collisions against a brutal Exeter team.

And when asked whether his side was physical enough, Boyd said: "No, I don't think we were.

"It's got to be a given.

"You can't worry about being physical enough because you've got to concentrate on your skills and your decisions so the physicality has to come naturally.

"At the end of the day, if you've got a 120kg man running into a 100kg man at the same velocity, there's only going to be one result.

"We have to find ways when we play teams like Exeter to take the heat out of that collision so we can get the ball into space and it's proving a little bit difficult."