Fly-half Stephen Myler has spoken of his pride at the Saints’ second-half performance in their 37-17 Aviva Premiership Grand Final defeat to Leicester.
Saints were forced to play the second period at Twickenham with only 14 men following captain Dylan Hartley’s sending off for allegedly swearing at referee Wayne Barnes on the stroke of half-time.
But they ended up losing the half only 21-12, and at one stage midway through it were still in with a chance of winning as they only trailed 24-17 thanks to tries from Ben Foden and Lee Dickson.
In the end, Leicester’s power proved too much, but Myler, who scored Saints’ first-half try, was full of praise for the way his team-mates took the game to the Tigers.
“Our reaction at half-time was, ‘we are down to 14 men we have to get on with it’,” said Myler.
“I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, and we have to be proud of what we did with 14 men for 40 minutes, against a quality team like Leicester.
“That is all we are trying to think about.
“It was a shock that we were suddenly without our captain, but you can’t change what happened in that situation, the decision was made.
“That was beyond our control, and what was within our control was the reaction we were going to give, and I thought at the start of the second half we reacted pretty well.
“We scored those two quick tries, but unfortunately at the end we were a bit shot because we’d had to play half a game with 14.
“Take nothing away from Leicester, full credit to them, they are a top side and they deserved the win.
“But I am also proud of our lads, and how we stuck together as a team.”
Asked if he thought Saints at any time after the break had a chance of winning the game, Myler said: “It was always going to be tough, because Leicester had a lead (16-5).
“But we felt we could win the game, and I think the start we had to the second half showed that.
“We played some good rugby, we hurt Leicester a lot, but they hurt us as well and it is just fine margins in big games like this.
“One thing going either way, the bounce of the ball here or there, or a decision going fo or against you, it can change the outcome of the game.
“Despite the disappointment of the result, I am proud of everybody in our squad. Although the result isn’t flattering to us at the end, I thought we were a lot closer than that.”