I CERTAINLY didn’t enjoy the first 20 minutes against Saracens as they piled on the pressure and were all over us.
Their breakdown was so quick and they made yards, which meant it was tough for us to get our defence set and they made our lives difficult.
They came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and made us work extremely hard, but luckily we only leaked one try during that time and we managed to build some momentum up until half-time. Going in 10-8 behind at the break after their early dominance would have been deflating for Sarries.
We are a very difficult side to score tries against and our defensive record shows that. Against Sarries, we started to improve our defensive technique as the game went on. Our hits got more aggressive which meant we could slow them down and get on the front foot ourselves. Once we had our line set, we were very difficult to break through.
For our try, it wasn’t Andy Goode’s most accurate pass of the night, but it put Alex Grove into the right area and he showed some of the footballing pedigree he has in his family to take a touch, gather the ball and dive over.
A lot of the accolades do go to the try-scorers, but Grovesy has been fantastic and has really nailed down our number 13 jersey as his own.
The work both him and Dale Rasmussen put in is so important for us and they are worth their weight in gold. They both put in an awful lot of work that isn’t necessarily seen and they cover so much distance each game.
At the end of the Sarries game, we obviously knew time was running out and because we were camped on our own line, we wanted to use the pick-and-go to run down the clock, but one of their players managed to get a hand on the ball and it shot out of the ruck.
Shaun Perry had little choice but to grab the ball and boot it out. It wasn’t the ideal scenario, but Craig Gillies came to the rescue and stole the line-out, which is something you don’t see too often these days as teams are now so efficent in the set-piece.
We had been building up to getting that win after a couple of near-misses in recent weeks, so there was a lot of relief at the final whistle.
We head to Bath this weekend — a place where we have struggled to play well due to various circumstances.
However, things are slightly different this year and we will go there full of confidence — hopefully they will underestimate us and we can pick up the win.
We are moving in the right direction and we hope to go to Bath, who are a very good team, and build on our recent performances. If we can do that, we will be in with a shout.