Brookes wants Saints to pay home supporters back with Wasps win
Among players, coaches and supporters there might just be a mutual feeling of the need for some payback this weekend.
Payback to the fans who have headed to Franklin’s Gardens only to witness few good performances during the past year or so.
And payback to Wasps, who upset the Saints faithful during a gloomy night at the Gardens back in late January.
On that occasion, almost 15,000 supporters watched on, the majority of them grim-faced, as Wasps ran riot during the first half.
The new and improved Coventry-based side scored three tries in the opening 30 minutes as they flew into a 24-3 lead.
So bad was Saints’ showing that director of rugby Jim Mallinder raced down to the touchline to cajole his players.
The home fans were more than frustrated and it was the nadir of a difficult campaign at the Gardens.
Wasps were eventually to pick up a 24-11 win, which was their first in Northampton since November, 2005.
This season, Saints hoped things would be different at home.
They hoped to get the fortress feel about the place again.
But Bath rocked up for the Aviva Premiership curtain raiser and promptly secured their first win at Saints since April, 2000.
There were moans and groans, a fear that Saints’ home form was continuing to slide.
So the players and coaches know that they owe their supporters one this weekend.
They simply have to give them something to cheer about, to back up largely impressive performances at Bristol and Saracens during the past two weeks.
“Yes, 100 per cent,” says Kieran Brookes, when asked whether the Saints players feel a duty to make up for poor performances at home.
“The lads were very, very disappointed with what happened against Bath and the lads want to rectify that.
“We played well against Bristol for 40 minutes, 60 minutes last weekend and hopefully this weekend it will be an 80-minute performance.”
And on that Wasps woe last January, Brookes, who started the game, said: “It’s wasn’t nice to lose to them at home last season and hopefully we can take it to them.
“They’ve got a very dangerous back line and they’re only going to add to that with the players they’ve got coming back from injury.
“They’ve got a big, dominant forward pack and I think it’ll be a good contest this weekend.”
Saints bounced back from the opening-day defeat to Bath by beating Bristol 32-10, but lost a 12-9 lead as they were beaten 27-12 at Saracens last weekend.
And Brookes said: “We worked hard on intensity and playing with tempo, set piece wise, and we’ve got to take that into this week.
“These next two games (Exeter head to Franklin’s Gardens after Wasps) are big for us and we want to come away with two wins.
“There’s a lot of positives to take from the game at Saracens, but there’s also some negatives we’ve got to look at.
“The way we played in the first 60 was very positive and if we can right a few wrongs we can do a job against Wasps this week.”