Saints are ‘in a good place’ after successful pre-season

Dorian West feels Saints are in good shape ahead of the new campaign after completing their pre-season endeavours with a 100 per cent record.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 9th October 2015, 6:21 pm
Dorian West (right) chats to Worcester boss Dean Ryan before the friendly at Franklin's Gardens (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dorian West (right) chats to Worcester boss Dean Ryan before the friendly at Franklin's Gardens (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

A last-gasp score from Ethan Waller ensured Jim Mallinder’s men would beat Worcester 33-27 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday afternoon.

Waller dotted down twice, with Ben Nutley, Paddy Howard and Alex Mitchell also scoring for a Saints side that was without the likes of Dylan Hartley and Luther Burrell, who were rested.

And with just seven days to go before the Aviva Premiership opener at Worcester, West says his players are ‘buzzing’.

“We’re in a good place as a group,” said West after Friday’s friendly.

“The lads are buzzing and they’re desperate to play.

“It seems like forever since we last played a competitive match and we’re looking forward to it.”

Worcester named a strong squad for the game at the Gardens, with the likes of Phil Dowson and GJ van Velze starting.

The Warriors were 15-0 up at half-time, but Saints grew into it and eventually prevailed to add to their earlier pre-season wins at Saracens and Wasps.

And West said: “They’re a good side are Worcester.

“They’ve got good coaches, who all know the game, and they know what’s required in this league.

“It’s tough, you need to work hard and I’m sure they’ll have prepared properly.

“Next week we’ll see for sure where they’re at when we’re probably slightly stronger in our team.

“It’s going to be intense. It won’t be quite so friendly next week as it was this week and we know it will be tough.”

West says Saints have no major injury worries ahead of the new season, though the fitness of Calum Clark (shoulder) and James Wilson (arm) will need to be assessed ahead of the trip to Sixways.

Neither club wanted to give too much away in Friday’s game, but the Saints forwards coach says leaving out a number of established players was always the plan.

“We always planned to go the way we have,” West said.

“We went with our main players in the first couple of weeks then decided that everyone who needed a game would get one today to see where they’re at.

“We’ve had a look at everybody and we know where most people are in their development.

“It’s down to us to make sure we select the right side next week.”