Francis: Don't let Gloucester defeat dampen Saints excitement
Piers Francis is desperate for the buzz around Saints to remain despite their opening-day defeat at Gloucester.
The centre got on the scoresheet in a 27-16 loss at Kingsholm as competitive life under new boss Chris Boyd started on a low note.But Francis feels there is plenty to come from this group of Northampton players.And the England man is eager for the feel-good factor that has come from the new era to stay in place when Harlequins come calling at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night."We do need to be realistic but I wouldn't dampen any excitement," Francis said."We've all got to get excited because that's how we're going to approach each game."It is a different season, a different structure and the boys are massively excited by it."We want that buzz to continue."The reality of it is that it is a performance sport and there is a winner and a loser."We came out the wrong side of it on Saturday but we get a Friday night game to right the wrongs and we'll be back at Franklin's Gardens under the lights, which is exciting."We've got to get the learnings much quicker than last year, take them on board and put it into action on Friday."We can't take another two or three weeks, we've got to learn, be a man about it and get points on the board."Tries from Francis and Courtney Lawes, allied with two Dan Biggar penalties, weren't enough for Saints in the Gallagher Premiership curtain raiser.Gloucester stood tall to record a win on home turf as Saints were made to pay for a plethora of individual errors and the concession of a string of penalties.But Francis said: "Any team is going to struggle down here."But as much as we are frustrated, we can't trip our lip after game one."We're working on a lot of things and obviously we've got a long way to go, but the pillars in place and we're getting there."Performances and results will come soon."