'Injuries not to blame for Saints' defeat at Sandy Park'

Sam Dickinson replaced Courtney Lawes after just 20 minutes at Sandy Park (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Sam Dickinson replaced Courtney Lawes after just 20 minutes at Sandy Park (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Jamie Gibson insists Saints can't use injury problems as an excuse for Saturday's disappointing 36-12 defeat at Exeter.

Saints were without Tom Wood (shoulder), Calum Clark (calf), Louis Picamoles (shoulder), Stephen Myler (knee) and George North (side) at Sandy Park.

And they also lost Courtney Lawes to injury as he was forced off after just 20 minutes with concussion.

But Gibson refused to blame those absences for the five-try demolition at Sandy Park.

"The way the Premiership works, it's a squad game," said the flanker.

"You can't put the same players on the pitch every week.

"People come in and we lost Tom Wood but we brought Christian Day in. It doesn't particularly weaken you.

"Courtney goes off and Sam Dickinson, who has been one of the most solid No.8s in the Premiership for a while, comes on.

"We had to adapt and we did absorb a lot of pressure in the first half.

"We put Exeter under pressure and at half-time we were a bit frustrated we'd given them a couple of easy scores when we probably didn't deserve to go in behind.

"The second half caught up with us with the amount we absorbed."

Exeter were relentless in the pressure they put on Saints.

And Gibson said: "If you look at Jack Nowell and their other winger, Olly Woodburn, they're good players and they will cause you trouble if you don't close the space.

"We went down to 14 men when Ken (Pisi) was sin binned and it takes it out of your legs.

"It's frustrating, but we've got to come back better for the game against Harlequins this weekend."