Hanrahan: More to come from in-form Saints

JJ Hanrahan insists there is still plenty more to come from in-form Saints.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 7:00 am
JJ Hanrahan scored his first Saints try in last Saturday's win against Sale Sharks (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Last weekend’s success against Sale Sharks was Hanrahan and Co’s fifth in six matches.

That run of form has catapulted the club into the Aviva Premiership top four ahead of Sunday’s game at second-placed Exeter Chiefs.

But Hanrahan knows this is not the time to sit back and admire the league position, insisting Saints are desperate to kick on in the final six matches of the regular season.

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“I think there’s still more to come,” said the former Munster man. “You can always keep pushing the boundaries.

“If we sit back and think we’ve peaked, we’re in trouble.

“There’s always more to come.”

Hanrahan scored his first Saints try in last Saturday’s win, coming off the bench to snatch a late bonus-point for his club.

It was an effort that will have enhanced his standing with the Franklin’s Gardens faithful as it meant their club leapfrogged local rivals Leicester Tigers in the table.

And Hanrahan said: “It was a great relief for me to finally get over and touch down.

“It’s always great scoring tries, but the boys up front did plenty of work before that.

“It was a good moment.

“We were pushing for that bonus point and it was good that we got it.

“We knew we needed it because of some of those losses at the start of the year.

“I was really happy that I could get over the line, but the main thing is that we got the win.”

And now Saints will set their sights on another victory on Sunday.

But they know they will have to be at their best to win at Sandy Park, where Exeter have only lost once in the league this season.

“They’re a really good outfit and they play a really positive brand of rugby,” Hanrahan said.

“They’ve got a lot of good players and Rob Baxter’s obviously done a great job with them.

“I chatted to Gareth Steenson after the last game and he loves life down there.

“It seems like a good club.”

Saints beat Exeter 8-3 at the Gardens on New Year’s Day, with Mike Haywood’s try proving crucial.

But Hanrahan said: “They’d probably be the first to admit that when we saw them at the start of the year we probably didn’t see the best of them.

“They can play a really good brand of rugby, have really good shapes and they’re really strong in attack.

“If you’re not up to that, they can really cut you open.

“We’re aware that they’re one of the best sides in the league and it’s going to be a massive challenge.”

Saints can take confidence into the game having already claimed some big victories on their travels this season.

Bath, Harlequins and Saracens have all felt the wrath of Jim Mallinder’s men during the current campaign.

And Hanrahan said: “A win on the road is always a good sign. It says a lot about the character of the team.

“We have some really strong characters in this group. They front up no matter where they are - in their own back yard or away.

“It’s still the same white lines on the field, just maybe the fans aren’t screaming for you, maybe just against you.

“If you need to draw energy from that, you do it. You just have to do whatever it takes to get the win on the day.”