Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Victor Matfield reveals Northampton will go back to basics to kickstart season

Published 31/12/2015

Victor Matfield insists Northampton will go back to basics in a bid to kickstart their season
Victor Matfield insists Northampton will go back to basics in a bid to kickstart their season

Victor Matfield has revealed Northampton will go back to basics in the hope of igniting their season after senior players invoked the values of the club during an inquest into their poor start.

Saints host second-placed Exeter at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night having lost four of their seven Aviva Premiership matches, leaving them six points adrift of the play-offs.

The lowest point of the campaign arrived with the 25-23 defeat at relegation candidates London Irish on Boxing Day, a result that prompted a period of introspection during a meeting of senior players that included former South Africa captain Matfield.

"This season been pretty difficult. One good game, one bad game, so we're very up and down," Matfield told BT Sport.

"We got together on Wednesday and I was fortunate enough to get called into the seniors' meetings for the first time.

"The guys were talking about the DNA of Northampton and what Saints stand for. I don't want to go through what that is, but it's about getting back to that.

"What makes us good? What makes us a great team? What do we stand for?

"We talked about going back to basics. If you do the basics very well, even if teams know what you're going to do, you become very difficult to stop."

Dylan Hartley, the favourite to be named England captain for the RBS 6 Nations, drops to the bench despite making his comeback from concussion against Irish. Mike Haywood starts at hooker.

While Northampton were crumbling at the Madejski Stadium, Exeter were busy amassing their sixth Premiership win of the campaign at the expense of Sale.

Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter views Saints' woes as merely a blip.

"Results would say they are having a bit of a down patch, but teams like Northampton that traditionally tend to end up around that top four are able to deal with sticky patches when they come along," Baxter said.

"That's a quality that we still aspire too, but Northampton are a side that are able to come through those patches strongly enough and still be challenging at the right end of the table come the end of the season."

Exeter start England back row Tom Johnson at openside ahead of Julian Salvi.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph