Lawes hoping past play-off heartache can inspire Saints

BIG AMBITION - Courtney Lawes wants his Saints team-mates to learn from their play-off mistakes (picture by Linda Dawson)
BIG AMBITION - Courtney Lawes wants his Saints team-mates to learn from their play-off mistakes (picture by Linda Dawson)
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Courtney Lawes wants Saints to use the heartache of past Premiership play-off semi-final defeats to drive them on to title glory this season.

Northampton booked their place in the end-of-season shoot-out with a 47-7 demolition of Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

They will now face a final-four clash on the weekend of May 11/12, with Saracens or Leicester the likely destinations.

Jim Mallinder’s men will be desperate to end a run which has seen them lose at the play-off semi-final stage in each of the past three seasons.

And second row star Lawes is hoping he and his team-mates can use those tough experiences to their advantage as they go in pursuit of league glory.

He said: “I think we’ll need to show the experience we’ve learned throughout the years and not make the same mistakes twice.

“We’ve just got to go in there like we did on Saturday, to enjoy ourselves and play some good rugby.”

With Saints finishing the regular season at Harlequins on May 4 and likely to be on the road in the play-offs, the players did their best to shine in their final home game on Saturday.

And shine they did, thrashing Sale and ensuring the fans and the likes of Soane Tonga’uiha and Brian Mujati, who are leaving the club this summer, went home happy.

“It’s great not having to dig deep in the last 10 minutes,” said Lawes. “We were cruising throughout the game so it was good to give the home fans what they wanted.

“All the talk throughout the week was about giving the boys who are leaving a good send-off and I’m glad we did that as well.

“They’ve been great since they been here so good luck to them and onwards and upwards for us.”