Things looking up for Boyd's Saints and Solomons' safe Warriors

Such is the compact nature of the Gallagher Premiership standings that Saints and Worcester have undergone some huge mentality changes in recent times.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 3rd May 2019, 8:00 am
Chris Boyd has taken Saints back into the top four
Chris Boyd has taken Saints back into the top four

Saints have switched from relegation anxiety to top six hope to play-off expectation.

As for Worcester, as recently as last weekend they were still looking over their shoulders in the bid to avoid relegation.

But after beating Gloucester at Sixways last Sunday, they can now look up and dream of a top-six finish.

Yes, that looks unlikely, given they would need a huge amount of luck and to win their final two matches, but they are now safe and they can now focus on rising rather than falling.

Saints, who lost to Newcastle back in December and were just three points off the bottom at the time, are now in a lofty fourth position following last Friday’s win at the Falcons.

They now know that if they claim bonus-point victories in their final two matches, no one can stop them securing a play-off semi-final place.

And that means this weekend’s final home fixture, against the Warriors, is a huge encounter for Chris Boyd’s men, who travel to Exeter for their last game of the regular season, on May 18.

“The funny thing about these games is that there’s always something on it for everyone, whether you’re fighting relegation, trying to make the top six or the top four, there’s always something log (table) wise that’s significant,” Boyd said.

“I suspect there are going to be some pretty important games this weekend and ours might be one of them.”

When Boyd arrived from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes last summer, many felt it would be a transitional first year that awaited him at Saints, who finished ninth in the Gallagher Premiership last season.

But having won the Premiership Rugby Cup in March and reached the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals, in which they lost at Clermont Auvergne, this season has already exceeded expectations.

And it would be dream territory to think they can go all the way to glory in the Gallagher Premiership.

But thanks to a run of three successive away wins, that remains a possibility, if still a very distant one.

“We didn’t actually set a lot of expectations around where we wanted to finish,” Boyd said.

“We just wanted to improve and grow as a group over the year, which I think we’ve started to do.

“We’ve started to get settled with each other now.

“We wanted to win some games and we’ve had a pretty good run away from home - we’ve won our past three league games away, which is really pleasing.

“We’re really keen to finish off at Franklin’s Gardens against Worcester on Saturday with a good performance that our long-suffering supporters can be proud of. That will be our objective.”