Director of Rugby Alan Solomons spoke to the media today ahead of Friday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Harlequins at Sixways (kick-off 7.45pm).
Here’s what Alan had to say:
On the Northampton performance
- There was a key moment around the 59th minute when Niall Annett stripped them of the ball and carried it into their half, we had a two-on-one overlap but unfortunately the ball was spilt.
- Straight after that their number eight carried into our half, they got a penalty which they kicked to the corner, we defended that well, got a penalty which we cleared to touch but then lost the lineout and from that they scored.
- So that was a 14 point swing and the critical period in the game.
How do you turn results around?
- We have to continue working hard to get the transference from the training pitch onto the playing pitch.
- The better we practise the better chance we give ourselves of putting in a good performance on matchdays.
- The coaches are doing a first-class job but we are a coach short having lost Omar Mouneimne just before the start of the season.
- We said that we would review that situation. We have now done that and the matter is in hand.
On performances overall
- We are doing some really good things. We had some really good passages of play in attack there was some terrific defence on Saturday.
- But we conceded what I thought was a soft try immediately after Billy Searle had scored for us which was disappointing because we had secured the kick-off.
- Everyone makes mistakes but it’s important that you don’t dwell on them. You have to get on with the game and make sure that your concentration is such that you minimise your errors. If you can do that then you take your opportunities and give the opposition minimal.
Is discipline a concern?
- We gave away 12 penalties and Northampton ten but five of those penalties were in the opening 20 minutes which facilitated their performance during that period.
- During the remaining 60 minutes we conceded only seven more penalties so I don’t think discipline played a role in the outcome of that game.
- Yellow cards are prevalent in today’s game. On Saturday both sides had a yellow card apiece and both were justified.
- We have focussed on our discipline and nobody wants to give away yellow cards.
On facing Harlequins
- Obviously we want to win but the focus has to be on getting our performance right.
- We have to make sure that we do things correctly, stay focused and stay in the moment. We can’t let our minds drift forwards or backwards. If you make a mistake you fix and you flush it.
- Harlequins are a physical team as you would expect with Paul Gustard, who is a defence coach, as their Head Coach.
- Danny Care is an experienced half-back who is dangerous around the edges and is unpredictable, Marcus Smith is an outstanding fly-half so they have some real talent in their side.
- It’s going to be a tough, physical game.
- We have talked about the fine margins between winning and losing, success and failure in professional sport and it’s only by being persistent and resilient that you will get over the line.
- Matt Kvesic missed the Northampton game due to illness but he is fine now.
- Graham Kitchener is training fully now and he will be under consideration for selection on Friday.