Saints eager to show they can be real Champions Cup contenders

Lewis Ludlam says Saints are happy to be underdogs in this season's Champions Cup.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 7:00 am
Lewis Ludlam
Lewis Ludlam

Chris Boyd' s side will face two European giants in the pool stages, playing against Racing 92 and Ulster home and away.

But Ludlam and Co are not fazed by those fixtures.

And ahead of Friday night's home opener against Racing, Ludlam said: “Chatting to people, they thought that was a bad draw for us, that we didn’t want that quality opposition, but I think that’s perfect.

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“That’s where you want to be; you want to be challenging yourself against the best. It’s probably, in other people’s eyes, an underdog situation, and that’s a perfect place to be.

“It’s a massive amount of excitement about one, going over there and playing in two unbelievable grounds, and two, really challenging ourselves against two real quality teams.

“So, we’ve just got to rip into that and understand we’re meant to be there. We’re there for a reason; we’ve got a genuine opportunity against these guys.”

With just four pool games on the agenda, Saints know there is little margin for error.

And Ludlam said: “It’s practically knockout rugby every week and that’s something that we’ll talk about, something that we need to understand – that you don’t get many chances of playing in European competitions and having chances to win European trophies as well. That’s something that definitely plays a part in our mindset.

“I’ll go back to you do need to stay in the moment, stay involved in the process, understanding what we’re about, what we’re trying to do, putting our game on them, especially the brand of rugby that we play. We can’t let ourselves go inside our shells at risk of things not going well.

“It’s a different atmosphere every week for European games. I think the thing that our fans are really excited about is how far we’ve come in comparison to some of these teams.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to properly see where we’re at in Europe, and it’s a great opportunity for us younger lads to be able to step up and show we are real contenders in the European competitions.”