Saints take confidence from most recent trip to Racing

Dorian West says Saints will take confidence from last year’s showing at Racing when they return to Stade Yves-du-Manoir on Saturday.

Friday, 11th December 2015, 6:00 am
Saints were humbled by Racing at Franklin's Gardens last season (picture: Sharon Lucey)

The men from Franklin’s Gardens have won both of their Champions Cup matches this season, but face their toughest test in the form of the cash-rish Top 14 team.

Racing beat Saints in back-to-back fixtures last December, depriving Jim Mallinder’s side of any reward for their efforts.

Saints were beaten 32-8 in the home fixture, having lost a losing bonus point late on in a 20-11 defeat in Paris on the previous weekend.

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But though they didn’t get anything from the game, West feels the performance was worth remembering.

“We played Racing away last year and did pretty well,” the Saints forwards coach said.

“We were really close to winning that game – George Pisi pulled his hamstring when he was through on the goalline unopposed and we lost the ball and didn’t score.

“We’ve got some confidence, but we know we’re playing against a quality outfit with a lot of quality players.

“They’ve got that luxury of resting players week in, week out and they rotated their team last week with 10 changes, but they still got a quality outfit on the pitch.

“It’s that thing you look at in England week in, week out, with Saracens rotating their massive squad and it’s something we’ve not quite been able to do so far.

“Hopefully we’ll get our injured players back and available and we’ll be able to start rotating, keep everyone fresh and really use the quality in our squad.”

And when asked what his players had learned from last December’s double disappointment, West said: “That they (Racing) are a quality team.

“They are competitive in the forwards, very aggressive in the way they play the game.

“They’ve got some quality players and if you are slightly off like we were at home then they can run away with it.

“We need to make sure we’re up to speed in all aspects of the game and we put them under pressure.

“We take some confidence that we were in with a shout at Racing last year and if we can reproduce that intensity we’ll be competitive.”

Saints have won four successive games in all competitions, with away wins at Glasgow and Bath displaying their courage.

And West said: “Spirit’s been really good.

“We’ve won four on the trot and we’ve played some good teams.

“Some aspects of our game are still not where we want them to be, but other areas have been outstanding so we’re happy.

“We’ve got to be confident because we’ve played two good teams in our past two away games and come away with victories in both.”