Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons believes his side were still in the contest right until the end despite losing 35-16 at Northampton. Both sides made winning starts to the season last weekend but it was Northampton who surged to the top of the Gallagher Premiership table with victory on a momentous day for English rugby.
Having gone in 9-6 down at the break, the Saints sprang into life during the second half with tries from Tom Collins and Taqele Naiyaravoro giving the home side breathing space. They then grabbed two quickfire tries, through George Furbank and Ollie Sleightholme, inside the final 15 minutes to make sure of a maximum points haul.
Despite the dam bursting late on, Solomons believes his side were still in with a shout of getting something out of the game, 11 points down at 20-9 with 10 minutes to play. “I felt like we were still in that game and it was the last 10 minutes of the game in about five or six minutes when they scored three tries,” said Solomons.
“That skewed the scoreline completely. Yes, we made the errors and gave them the penalties to get the two tries but in six minutes to allow them to score three tries was not good. The big thing for me was getting a good start and we certainly did that. The opening half was good, but we just let ourselves down in the second half. It’s little things that turn a rugby game.”
Understandably, Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd was pleased with the way his side turned up the heat in the latter stages of the game as victory ensured a perfect start to the season at Franklin’s Gardens. “The second half was considerably better and maybe the platform in the first half helped us,” said Boyd.
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“We just needed to stop playing in the back half of the field and we needed to get possession and territory that we could build on. We did a few times in the second half and reaped the reward. They weren’t conditions that suit us because we like to play a bit and they were putting pressure on us so we couldn’t get out of that end.
“Once you get possession and territory then you can start playing a little bit more. We struggled in the first half but we got it together in the second half and away we went. George Furbank was good, having been really good last week as well. He’s a quality player and he sees space really well.”
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