Grayson ponders fate of falling Saints

Northampton Saints boss Paul Grayson has admitted his side’s hopes of avoiding relegation from the Guinness Premiership suffered what could turn out to be a lethal blow in Newcastle on Easter Sunday.

The Falcons banished any lingering fears of the drop with a hard-fought 16-7 victory, but for the visiting Heineken Cup semi-finalists the spectre of National League One remains after they failed to reproduce the fighting display that brought them that unlikely victory against Biarritz.

The Saints could not even manage a bonus point although they dominated possession throughout in front of a 10,200 sell-out crowd, who inspired the Falcons to a tremendous defensive display.

The Saints are now two points behind second from bottom Worcester with two games remaining of the league season.

Bristol had earlier beaten the Warriors, opening the door for Northampton to move off the bottom, however one try away from home against the Falcons was never going to be enough.

“I think we maybe should have taken the three points and the bonus point, but if you look back over the season there are lots of ifs and buts,” said Grayson.

“The boys took the decision on the field for good or bad and you have to live with it.

“It’s going to be hard for us now with two games left. This was a golden opportunity to put pressure on Worcester, but we were up against a side also fighting for their lives and you couldn’t expect them to roll over.

“It wasn’t a a marvellous game of rugby but you couldn’t fault the effort and I don’t agree the players have given it up as lost cause. They’ll keep swinging right until the end.

“People have to be accountable for what’s happened this season and hold up their hands and the players and the coaching staff are holding up their hands pretty high.

“It’s not yet a lost cause, but it’s going to be tough because next week we’re at Wasps, then we have the Heineken Cup semi-final and we finish at home to London Irish.

“This is not a time for beating ourselves up and we have to put this defeat behind us and we must stay in touch and go into the last game against London Irish with a chance of staying up.

“It is going to be hard to stay up now [but] we are not giving up and we will look to keep the pressure on Worcester, but we are now relying on other people.’

Northampton’s next game is a Heineken Cup semi-final against Wasps thanks to their surprise win against French champions Biarritz in the last round.

The European competition will allow no doubt offer Grayson’s men some welcome respite from the pressures of their Premiership fight.


365 Digital 

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