Cup squad now more confident as Saints prepare to face London Irish again

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Tom Lockett believes Saints are a much more confident side as they get set to return to the Gtech Community Stadium on Friday night.

The 20-year-old lock came off the bench in the dramatic 28-26 defeat at London Irish in the Premiership Rugby Cup pool stages back in September.

Saints will be back in Brentford to face Irish in the semi-finals of the cup on Friday night.

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And Lockett said: "We're a lot more confident this time around.

Tom LockettTom Lockett
Tom Lockett

"That was the first time the Prem Cup group had played together and we sort of felt our way into it.

"We probably let ourselves down a little bit because we felt we could have won that game. We let a big lead (Saints were 19-0 up at half-time) slip.

"Hopefully we can put it right this week."

Lockett has made four appearances for Saints this season, appearing in all of the pool games in the cup, starting in three of them.

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He has also been impressing on dual-registration at Bedford Blues, earning the man of the match award in their 38-17 Championship Cup win against London Scottish last Friday.

And Lockett said: "I feel like I've had a pretty good year.

"I've had a few opportunities in the Prem Cup and I'm there or thereabouts so it's looking good.

"The cup has been a chance for a lot of the lads who have been playing at Bedford to pull on a Saints shirt and have an opportunity to pull on a shirt at the Gardens.

"It's what we're here for and it's exciting.

"A big thing for me this year was getting some consistent game time and doing some of the things I can do more consistently.

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"Being somewhere like Bedford, I get the chance to play week in, week out and do those things so it's positive.

"The way Bedford play is fast and it's very similar to the way we like to play.

"Obviously the Championship is very physical with a lot of big packs so you test yourself up front and test your fitness playing on the slope at Bedford."

Lockett has plenty of players to learn from at Saints as the likes of Courtney Lawes, Alex Coles and Alex Moon have also come through the club's Academy.

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"It's invaluable to speak to Ribeye (David Ribbans), Colesy (Alex Coles) and Moony (Alex Moon) to take from them what they've been doing in the Premiership," Lockett said.

"I can take that away with me when I go to Bedford or when I'm playing here. I try to replicate those things the best I can.

"It's testament to the pathway that we've got here and also James Craig has done a lot of good work with us individually in the set piece and our general play. He was a starting second row here and the knowledge and experience that trickles down to us stands us in good stead when we pull on a Saints shirt."