Positive prop Painter knows Saints need some momentum

Saints prop Ehren Painter
Saints prop Ehren Painter

The positivity of Ehren Painter was striking as the prop spoke to the media following the defeat to Wasps last Saturday.

He was in no mood to moan about anything, even when prompted about the injury problems that blighted last season.

Painter was only able to play 15 times for Saints in 2018/19 as calf and back issues kept him on the sidelines.

But after being part of the Saints side that lost 36-32 to Wasps in a Premiership Rugby Cup thriller at Franklin's Gardens last Saturday, he was staying upbeat.

"I tore my calf and slipped a disc in my back last season and it wasn't great fun but I guess everyone's got to go through that," Painter said.

"It's nothing compared to what Andy Symons (who missed most of last season with an ACL injury) has gone through.

"Saturday was his first game back in a year and you couldn't really tell.

"I can't really whinge about my injuries - it's part of the sport and I'll learn from them."

Painter was disappointed with how things turned out against Wasps last weekend as errors and disciplinary problems cost Saints dear.

But again he adopted a philoshophical approach to the situtation, insisting it is all about learning before Saints go to Saracens for their Gallagher Premiership opener on October 19.

"It was a tough game against Wasps," Painter said.

"I felt like we controlled 80 per cent of it but credit to Wasps because they just kept applying pressure and they took their opportunities.

"When stuff doesn't go your way, like the two yellows and red card (for Taqele Naiyaravoro), you want to try to adapt, but the second one was just a bit too much.

"All roads lead to Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership but we need to start getting some more momentum now."

And how Saints need that momentum, having lost their three matches since the summer, being defeated by Leinster in a pre-season fixture before suffering reverses against Sale and Wasps.

"We need momentum," Painter continued. "We absolutely need momentum.

"We need to right the wrongs, turn this place into a fortress and go from there."

Painter will be competing with the likes of World Cup winner Owen Franks and Paul Hill for starts in the Saints No.3 shirt this season.

And he believes the squad is going to be very strong this time round.

"Mikey (Haywood), Reece (Marshall), Dyls (Hartley) and a couple of the other lads are still out but everyone's starting to come back," Painter said.

"We've obviously got the World Cup boys to come back in, we've got Owen Franks and Matt Proctor arriving so when everyone's here we'll have a very good squad.

"Even at the moment we've still got a very good squad."

Painter has shown plenty of promise since emerging from the Saints Academy, but he knows he still have lots of work to do.

"I knew I had a job to do at scrum time last weekend - that's obviously my main job as a tighthead," said the 21-year-old.

"The game at Sale was pretty tough and I feel like we improved from that.

"I'm just trying to get the most of out of the scrum every time I play.

"It's always an honour and a priviledge to run out at the Gardens and a lot of it was really fun but it was pretty gutting at the end last Saturday.

"It was lovely to be back playing alongside the boys but we need to start turning these performances into wins."