Saints coach Dickens compares Wasps with Keegan’s Newcastle

Alan Dickens is in confident mood ahead of Saints' trip to Wasps
Alan Dickens is in confident mood ahead of Saints' trip to Wasps

Alan Dickens has likened Wasps’ attacking philosophy to that of Kevin Keegan’s swashbuckling Newcastle United side.

But the Saints attack coach insists his men can compete with the Coventry-based outfit on Sunday.

Wasps have racked up a whopping 577 points in 18 league matches this season, putting them top of the Aviva Premiership pile.

And Dickens feels the freedom they show is like the Newcastle United team that threatened to win English football’s Premier League back in the 1990s.

“Wasps are a formidable team,” Dickens said.

“I’m old enough to remember Newcastle United in the late ‘90s and they’re a bit like them in their attacking philosophy.

“They will back themselves to score more than the opposition so we need to go there and implement our game plan this week.

“We know what we need to do to win the game.”

When asked whether Wasps are now the benchmark for Saints, Dickens replied: “I don’t necessarily know if they’re the benchmark.

“We’ve played some decent stuff in the past few weeks, including in the game against Leicester.

“As a coach, I still felt we left a couple of tries out there against Leicester and it wasn’t to be.

“Wasps have got players all the way across their backline who are game-breakers and we’ll have to look after them.”

But Dickens isn’t shy about taking ideas from other teams as he bids to make Saints the best around in the attacking department.

“We’re not insular here at the club and you’ve got to take ideas from elsewhere, whether that’s from the Six Nations, Super Rugby - ultimately we’ll just tweak little things and implement them week to week.”

And Dickens insists Saints, who currently sit seventh in the league, can compete with Wasps this weekend.

“We’ve got some quality players,” he said.

“If we put it together as a 15 for 80 minutes, we can beat anyone in the league.

“We’re under no illusions as to how tough the games are and results will have to go our way, but we’re six points behind Leicester, who are fourth, and if we win all of our games, we put ourselves in a good position.

“If we fall short, it’s our fault in terms of losing some of the games earlier in the season.

“We know what we need to do.”