Dickson warns Saints they can’t afford a second Champions Cup slip in Italy

PAINFUL EXPERIENCE - Lee Dickson shows his disappointment during Saints' damaging European Cup defeat to Leinster at Franklin's Gardens last season

PAINFUL EXPERIENCE - Lee Dickson shows his disappointment during Saints' damaging European Cup defeat to Leinster at Franklin's Gardens last season

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Lee Dickson knows one more slip will be fatal for Saints’ Champions Cup hopes as they prepare for this afternoon’s game in Italy.

Jim Mallinder’s men, who have accrued five points from their opening two games in Europe, will tussle with PRO12 basement side Treviso at Stadio Comunale di Monigo today (Saturday).

They will host the Italians next Saturday, knowing two wins from the December double-header are vital if they are to remain in the Pool 5 hunt.

And Dickson, who was part of the squad that lost 20-11 to Racing Metro on the competition’s opening weekend, recognises there is no room for error this time round.

“We lose now in this competition and we’re out,” said the scrum-half. “We can’t afford to lose more than one game if we want to go through as pool winners and we know it’s going to be tough.

“We’re going in with the mentality that the way there are is similar to London Welsh last weekend.

“We’re going to have to play well to even get anywhere near them because they’re desperate, they’re a good team and they’ve got all their internationals coming back.

“We’re going to be very direct, play the Saints way over there and hopefully come away with a win leading into next week.”

Saints were convincing winners at London Welsh last weekend, but took their time to crack the home side’s spirit.

They eventually scored seven tries on the way to a 43-14 success and Dickson knows similar endurance will be needed to overcome a Treviso side who are yet to win this season.

“It is about patience,” said Dickson. “It’s about playing your way, building the phases because you’re not going to score first phase second phase.

“It’s going to be a scrap at the breakdown, scrap in the mauls, get round the corner, outwork them and you reap your benefits in the second half.

“It’s about grinding teams down and not getting frustrated with things when they go wrong and keeping the ref out of the game. We’ve got to go there and do a professional job.”