Wood urges Saints to take the sting out of Gloucester

RALLYING CALL - Tom Wood is ready for Gloucester (picture by Linda Dawson)
RALLYING CALL - Tom Wood is ready for Gloucester (picture by Linda Dawson)

Tom Wood says Saints will get a ‘hiding’ if they let Gloucester get on top early at Kingsholm on Saturday (3.15pm kick-off).

Northampton go into the game at the Premiership’s bottom side having won both of their opening two games, against Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins.

But the Cherry and Whites will be up for the fight, needing to give their own fans something to shout about after successive defeats, to Sale and Saracens.

Wood knows exactly what to expect at Kingsholm and he has called on his team-mates to ensure the Gloucester faithful are kept quiet from the off.

“You know what you’re going to get down there: not a particularly warm welcome from The Shed,” said the England flanker.

“They’re a passionate bunch, they get behind the team and as soon as Gloucester get any momentum the noise will double.

“We’ve got to be very professional, make sure we stay tight as a group and hopefully take the sting out of them early because once they get their tails up early they’re very dangerous.

“They’ve got some dangerous backs, some big ball carriers in the forwards, (Akapusi) Qera, (Sione) Kalamafoni, who get on the front foot.

“If they get the weight of the crowd behind them early on, we’ll be under pressure so we’ve got to take that out of them early on and establish ourselves in the game.”

Saints did exactly that when they visited Kingsholm last season, racing into the lead before the break and holding on to record a 24-19 victory.

It was a fine performance from Jim Mallinder’s men and Wood believes the tough nature of the test can again bring the best out of Saints this Saturday.

“It was a great way to start the year down there, but I guess the tougher the place, the bigger the reputation, the more it focuses the mind and the more attention to detail there is,” he said.

“We’ve got a couple of good performances under our belt but we’ve got to keep backing them up.

“The games don’t get any easier, if you look at our run in the next few weeks they’re all tough so that’s the nature of the Premiership and the Heineken Cup.

“We’ll keep focusing on the little things, keep improving from week to week and as much as anything you’ve got to bring that edge down to Kingsholm.

“We’ve got to match them because once they get their tails up you get a hiding.”