Ben Nutley says he hated losing at Sale on Saturday, but believes the defeat will ultimately prove positive for Saints in the long run.
Jim Mallinder’s men were soundly beaten at the AJ Bell Stadium, seeing their seven-match winning streak go up in smoke in a 20-7 Aviva Premiership defeat.
It was an unusually below-par performance from the champions, who struggled to get into the game and paid the price.
But with crucial Champions Cup clashes with Ospreys and Racing Metro lying in wait on successive weekends, Nutley believes the Sale shock can help the squad.
“Last time I came into the team we won and last time I was here (at Sale) I scored two tries (in last April’s Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final) so it’s a weird one, but you learn from these games,” said the 22-year-old flanker.
“I’ve been part of a team fighting for trophies ever since I came through the Academy so for me it’s a positive in a way.
“You hate losing but you learn a lot more from a loss than you do from a win.
“We’ll all scrutinise it and make it positive. We haven’t played well for the past few weeks but we had pulled a few results out and Europe and the LV= Cup are coming up, with us in a good position to be able to go through.
“We’re still strong in the Prem and we want to be the best so we’ve got to move on and get the results.”
Nutley was thrown into the team at Sale, with Saints needing to play regular back row forwards Sam Dickinson and Calum Clark in the second row.
It was a tough afternoon for the pack, far away from Nutley’s previous start, in the win at London Welsh in November, but he relished the game time and now wants more.
“I’m always ready,” he said. “I’ve been in and out, in and out, and it would be nice to get a run of games.
“It’s difficult when you play like last weekend, but I enjoy playing for this club and hopefully I’ll get more game time, and hopefully better results as well.”