Challenge Cup bid is so important to Saints, says skipper Ludlam

Lewis Ludlam has insisted success in the European Challenge Cup is a priority for Saints.

By Tom Vickers
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 7:00 am
Lewis Ludlam
Lewis Ludlam

The black, green and gold travel to Gloucester for a last-16 tie tonight (kick-off 8pm).

And though Saints are still in with a real shot of a play-off place in the Gallagher Premiership, they still also have a big focus on European glory.

"It's everything," Ludlam said.

"As a professional sportsman you want to win silverware, whatever that is.

"It doesn't matter if it's the Premiership Rugby Cup, European trophies, the Premiership or A-League two or three years ago.

"We want to win things, that's all that matters and that's all you look at come the end of your career.

"We're not taking this lightly by any stretch of the imagination."

Saints have won their past five matches in all competitions and currently sit four points behind fourth-placed Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership standings.

Gloucester are also very much in the mix for a play-off place, but both teams will solely focus on this European fixture before returning to league action on the following weekend.

Saints skipper Ludlam said: "Gloucester are a fantastic team.

"The way they've been playing in the past couple of months has been really impressive.

"The driving maul is a real weapon for them so going down there is going to be a great challenge and that battle will be decided around our defence, how well we defend that maul and how many opportunities we give them to get into our 22.

"We're more than capable of going down there and scoring points, it's just trying to keep them out as much as possible."

Saints' most recent defeat actually came at Gloucester on March 5, and they have bounced back in style since then.

"It's been really good, really encouraging," Ludlam said.

"In that mid-point of the season we found ourselves on the wrong side of a few results and perhaps we lost a bit of confidence, but we've got the ball rolling a bit now.

"There's good confidence, a good feeling around the place and we're starting to peak at the right time.

"It's knockout rugby for us now - it has been in the Premiership and it is in Europe.

"The boys are relishing the challenge and this weekend is something we're really excited for."