Northampton Saints’ director of rugby Chris Boyd has made it clear that Saints’ most recent performance against Gloucester was unacceptable in his books.
Saints crashed to a 31-7 defeat against the Cherry & Whites after previously building up a quality string of three victories on the trot – against Worcester Warriors, London Irish and Leicester Tigers. They were expected to post a positive result against Gloucester, who have struggled so far this season.
“When English people walk their dogs, they put stuff in those little plastic bags,” Boyd said. “We had a big one of those bags today.
“We didn’t win anything. Credit to Gloucester, they came with a plan. But we didn’t win the set-piece, the breakdown, the kicking game, nothing. When you’re not winning any part of your game you’ve got nothing to rebuild on.
“Normally with our guys, you can’t fault their commitment, but we were outplayed in every aspect and the score was a reflection of that.
“It’s massively disappointing; we’ve been heading north for the last month, been playing reasonably good code, but there was something in our preparation and performance around that that was unacceptable. We would expect from the whole group a reasonable response to that.
“We took a week off after Leicester and would normally have said that would be positive, because you get some freshness and everyone comes back reenergised and enthused, but obviously a week off in the COVID environment is not as attractive as in a non-COVID environment.
“One thing I did notice was that nobody went away, they all milled around and did some bits and pieces at the Club. It wasn’t a meaningful holiday. To say that time off had any impact or not, I think you would be clutching at straws.
“We’ve let the top four slip out of our hands now. We’re going to have to rely on other people beating other people.
“We’d have to win four out of the last four games, which is a big ask. We’ll certainly be looking to do that but we have lost control of it ourselves.
“Everyone in the changing room is embarrassed by the performance, so you’d hope that you get a response.”