West warns Saints they must match Bristol bite
Dorian West has warned Saints that they will have to match the energy levels of a Bristol side who will be '˜bang up for it' at Ashton Gate on Sunday.
The west country outfit will be playing their first home game back in England’s top division, with Jim Mallinder’s men the visitors.
And after coming close to beating Harlequins last weekend, Bristol will be in buoyant mood.
“We’re expecting Bristol to be bang up for it,” said the Saints forwards coach. “We need to be up for it as well.
“It’s a game in a new home for them in the Premiership and I’m sure they’ll be full of energy, they’ll have a big crowd behind them and it’s going to be a tough place to go.
“But we’ve worked really hard this week, we’ve improve a lot of things we did last week in training and we’re looking forward to it.”
While Bristol emerged with plenty of credit from their 21-19 defeat to Harlequins last weekend, Saints suffered opening-day disappointment at the hands of Bath.
And West insists the players are ready to put things right after that 18-14 defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.
“We’ve responded well, had some good, honest meetings about things we need to do better and we’ve worked hard on that this week,” he said.
“I’m sure you’ll see a good performance from us.
“It’s a really competitive league and you need to be winning games.
“I’m pleased with where we are this week and we need to just be a bit more accurate in finishing things off and scoring some more points.”
Saints will come up against some familiar faces this weekend, with Soane Tonga’uiha, Jon Fisher and Ross McMillan all in the Bristol ranks.
And West said: “They’ve got a lot of experience down there. They’ve got a lot of good players who have been around and know the game.
“They know a lot about us as well so we’re going to have to be at our best.”
And on Tonga’uiha, who made 184 appearances for Saints before leaving in 2013, West added: “He’s a big part of the club’s history.
“We did win some trophies while he was here, got to some finals and he was a big character around the place.
“He’s someone we really enjoyed working with and it will be nice to see him.
“I’ll be nice to him after the game but hopefully we can be horrible to him during the game.”