Concentration key as Saints square up to Harlequins

George Furbank knows concentration will be key when Saints host Harlequins tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 29th April 2022, 7:00 am
George Furbank

Quins won the Premiership last season after finishing fourth in the standings.

That is the position Saints currently hold with three games of the regular season to go, while Quins are third.

It promises to be an entertaining battle this week between two teams who have shown they have the ability to mount impressive comebacks in recent times.

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And Furbank said: "They've produced a few comebacks to win the Premiership and it would be nice if we could emulate that but it would be nice if we weren't that far behind.

"We want to be in a situation where we're leading and we feel dominant but we also recognise there are going to be games where we're going to be under the pump a bit.

"To show that character is important.

"We have to concentrate for 80 minutes because if you switch off for one minute, they'll take a quick tap or a quick throw and Marcus (Smith) or (Alex) Dombrandt will pull something out of the bag.

"It's a game of concentration but we've got to put our defence on them.

"If we have five minutes of slipping up, they can score three or four tries and we're well aware we can't afford to perform like we did against Bath last weekend."

Saints were 31-12 down at Bath with just 15 minutes to go, but they scored four tries late on to secure an almost surreal success.

"We were pretty poor for 60 minutes and then pulled it out of the bag in the last 20," said Furbank, who started the game at fly-half.

"We've taken quite a few lessons from that 60 but also some positives from the final 20.

"We were always confident we could come back, and Brandon (Nansen) almost took one for the team in the sense that we had a five-minute break to regroup and get on the same page.

"It wasn't so much long conversations, it was short, sharp conversations that got everyone on the same page and allowed them to go in with a clear mind in that last 20.

"The boys brought energy off the bench and it allowed us to put our game on the park and put our tempo out there, which ultimately probably killed them.

"We've put ourselves in that top-four spot now.

"We recognise we've got three tough games coming, but we want to be in the box seat - you're best off not relying on other results.

"We've got to go and put a performance in on Friday night."

One of the key men for Saints last weekend was Alex Coles, who stepped into the void after Courtney Lawes was sidelined with a thumb injury.

Furbank is close friends with Coles as both have come through the Saints Academy.

And he said: "Colesy is in really good form.

"He's got a decent amount of experience and he's a leader on the field.

"It's class to see him doing that.

"I think he came back a few kilos heavier from lockdown so that's also helped.

"To see players like him, Dingers (Fraser Dingwall) and Mitch (Alex Mitchell) carving up this season is really nice."