WE knew exactly what to expect from Stade Francais and had a few guys in the team who had played in similar fixtures in France before, as well as a few who had played for French clubs.
We didn’t go into the Amlin Challenge Cup game blind and expected it to be a real battle and it was a shame we weren’t quite up to it in the first-half.
Our defence that has been so solid all season wasn’t quite up to scratch, but all credit to Stade as they showed some superb handling and flair to break us down, but we were disappointed with our defensive performance.
Going in 21-3 down at half-time was always going to be difficult to come back from, but there were positives to take from the second-half of the game.
There are still things to work on, but we showed good intent in attack after the interval — the guys ran hard and the breakdown was much more efficient, which was an improvement.
It seems that we take a step forward with our attack, but slip up in our defence, but there was plenty for us to take from the game.
Also, it was an incredible effort by those supporters who came out to France to cheer us on and we really are appreciative of their backing.
I was speaking to some of the fans after the game and they had lost their voices trying to shout over the French drums.
They made the atmosphere a lot better than it would have been given the fairly small crowd.
Our fans are right up there in terms of the amount of noise they make — you just have to look at the stats we get for home games — our attendances are always in the top five for the league and that is with a team that has underachieved over the last few campaigns in the Premiership.
At the recent supporters’ evening, a few of us were asked by the fans if we can hear them during the games — and we certainly can!
It is a great feeling to be a long way from home, like we were against Stade on Saturday, but still be able to hear that ‘Come On You Warriors’ chant.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s LV= Cup match at Saracens, it should be an interesting game, although I am not entirely sure what kind of team they will put out.
We will be taking it very seriously and going all out to win. We went to Vicarage Road earlier in the season and should have taken at least a losing bonus point from that game.
We will be looking to set the record straight this weekend and show that we are a force to be reckoned with.