Testing pre-season will stand Saints in good stead, says free-scoring Collins

Tom CollinsTom Collins
Tom Collins
Saints wing Tom Collins believes his side's testing pre-season games will stand them in good stead for Saturday's Gallagher Premiership season opener against Gloucester.

The black, green and gold faced Bedford Blues and Ospreys in friendly fixtures during the past couple of weeks, coming out on top in both encounters.

They were 40-21 at Bedford before edging to a 31-26 victory against Ospreys at Franklin's Gardens last Friday night.

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And all roads now lead to this weekend's home clash with the Cherry and Whites.

Collins will go into that game in fine form, having scored three tries during pre-season.

And the speedy back said: “I really enjoyed being out there last Friday. It was a tough game and the performance from us was a bit of a mixed bag.

“I thought we did some basics very, very well at the beginning, but then tailed off in the second half – especially in that first 10 minutes, which is where we’ve got to be strong.

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“It’s a tough test this week against Gloucester, but we’ve had a good pre-season and hopefully we can build on that.

“You want to have a test in pre-season. You don’t want to be winning games 40-0, it’s pointless and we get nothing out of it.

“On Friday, the boys showed character. Those are the type of games that we probably would have lost not that long ago – tight games.

"To get the win, although it wasn’t our best performance, is good for us.”

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Last Friday’s match marked the return of an unrestricted crowd to the Gardens for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Thousands flooded through the gates, and Collins believes having the stands packed with supporters once again will make the world of difference for Saints this term.

He said: “It’s nice to be back out there and in front of the supporters. It makes a real difference for the boys playing.

“The difference is crazy. I’ve been here for several years now and I’ve seen everything from first team rugby to Wanderers rugby.

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“Playing here in an empty ground is ridiculous. You don’t really know what to do with yourself, whereas when you’ve got this crowd behind your back it’s great and probably what got us over the line against Ospreys.”

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