Foden feels Saints are starting to step it up after 'lazy' spell

Ben Foden feels everyone at Saints has started to take responsibility for the current slump (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Ben Foden feels everyone at Saints has started to take responsibility for the current slump (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Ben Foden feels Saints were guilty of getting lazy towards the end of Jim Mallinder's tenure as director of rugby.

And the winger now believes everyone is starting to step up and take responsibility as the club looks to end its current slump.

Mallinder left prior to the Champions Cup clash at Ospreys earlier this month, with the Saints board admitting it was time for change at the top of the coaching structure.

The departure of the long-serving boss hasn't paid immediate dividends with the team, now under the interim charge of attack coach Alan Dickens, continuing its losing streak.

Saints have now suffered defeats in 11 of their past 12 matches, with last Saturday's 35-14 loss to Exeter Chiefs at Franklin's Gardens their sixth successive Aviva Premiership reverse.

But Foden saw signs of improvement during that game and he believes everyone at Saints is now working harder to turn things around.

"One of the main problems was that no one was willing to take responsibility for it, but now things have happened, we've got no choice but to take responsibility for it," said the 32-year-old, who joined Northampton from Sale Sharks in 2008.

"It's not just about one guy in the video we can point the finger at or us pointing the finger at Jim - we're all in this together.

"We're a professional outfit, we're professional players getting paid week in, week out to perform and we haven't been performing, the coaches haven't been performing off the field.

"You get lazy in terms of your conditioning, your fitness, the little skills and the finer details.

"We harp on about the little things that add to big things and as players we've got to take that on the chin.

"Sometimes you've got to look at the man in the mirror and say 'I haven't been working as hard as I could be working and making sure everything is done perfectly leading up to the games so that I'm in the best position to deliver what I'm trying to deliver'.

"I think everyone will say that throughout the whole squad - it's not just one person.

"Some players have still been performing very well: Courtney Lawes has been outstanding for us, Teimana Harrison has been outstanding for us, but you can't just rely on one or two guys picking your team up and carrying you.

"It's a team game and we need all 54 guys in the squad to buy into it, so training runs well and there's pressure on guys to perform in training.

"We want to make selection hard for coaches and show we're all hungry so that when the opportunity comes we take it.

"It will start to come back into the squad soon and the performances, points and silverware will follow after that."

Foden is particularly keen to claim silverware this season as it could be his final one at Saints.

"It's my 10th season here and there are a lot of guys out of contract," said Foden, whose current contract is due to expire in the summer. "We wanted it to be a big send-off.

"We felt our squad was strong and we looked good, topping the table at one point, but suddenly the plug comes out and you're sat in an empty bath.

"We know we've got to sharpen things up.

"There are changes being made and there's more to come, but as players, it comes onto the 23 at the weekend to perform to the best of our ability and win games.

"We've got quality players throughout the squad, a world class squad twice over, so we need to starting winning because that becomes a habit.

"In those close games, if you've got the confidence and belief that you'll win them - like the Saints of old used to have - it makes a difference and we need to get that into this team and have that fighting spirit again."