Northampton Saints must stop ‘being victims’, says boss Chris Boyd

Chris Boyd
Chris Boyd’s Northampton have won six and lost four of their 10 games so far

Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd says his side must stop “being the victim” following their 41-27 defeat by Harlequins at Twickenham.

They led 21-7 after an inspired start but were two points behind at the interval before Quins put the game out of their reach late on.

The result meant Saints will go into 2022 in fifth place in the Premiership.

“We’re certainly not happy being fifth at the end of the year,” Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton.

“We continue our journey. We need to be smart, stop being the victim, and get on with rolling our sleeves up and being a little better than that.

“The difference between the team that finishes fourth and the team that finishes eighth or ninth is going to be pretty tight. We just need to accumulate some wins to keep ourselves in the right position.”

Northampton scored all three of their tries in a first half in which 50 points were scored.

“The first half was attack with optional defence,” said Boyd. “Both sets of coaches would be disappointed with the defence in the first half. It was try, tit for tat, try, tit for tat.

“Whilst that might be a nice spectacle for the general public, it’s not what we want as a coaching group.”

He also admitted that referee Wayne Barnes had played a part.

“We got on the wrong side of Mr Barnes and conceded 22 penalties, I think was the final count,” he said. “It might have been 23, but you can’t give any side that many platforms to launch from.

“There is a different interpretation from Wayne because he’s an international referee. We didn’t adapt particularly well. He was brutally hard on not rolling away.

“We contest the ball hard, as do Harlequins, but they are the least penalised in the league and we are almost the most, so we’ve got to do better than that.”

Over 72,000 tickets were sold for the game at Twickenham.

“The fact that a club game can attract whatever the final number was is a fantastic effort by Harlequins and it’s great for the rugby fraternity in the UK that people are prepared to come out and support club games,” added Boyd.

“If you provide an event that people think is good value and they enjoy it then they are going to come back and do it again. Rugby clubs have been remarkably responsible in their adherence to behaviour (during the pandemic). The fact that we’re still going is a real plus.”

Saints are next scheduled to be in action on 2 January with a home game against second-placed Saracens (15:00 GMT).

BBC News

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