Ferguson explains why Saints turned down shot at goal in Harlequins defeat

Assistant coach Matt Ferguson insists Saints wanted to 'back our maul' as they turned down a late shot at goal that could have won the game for them at Harlequins.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 10:19 pm
Updated Friday, 19th November 2021, 10:20 pm
Luke Wallace powered over to help Harlequins win it late on

Saints were 25-14 up when they were awarded a penalty in a position similar to where James Grayson had been successful from earlier.

He would have expected to be again, but Saints opted to go for the corner as they sought to bag a try bonus point and wrap up the game.

However, the decision came back to bite them as they failed to secure any further points and were hit with a sucker punch seven minutes from time as Luke Wallace scored for Harlequins.

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Jamie Benson converted and Saints could not respond again as they fell to a 26-25 Premiership Rugby Cup defeat at the Twickenham Stoop.

When it was suggested that Saints had to take the three penalty points when they were on offer, Ferguson said: "No, not if you put it in the corner and drive them over like we did in the first half.

"We back our maul, our maul was going really well.

"We want to be a team that puts the opposition under huge amounts of pressure so we were banging that into the corner and saying 'we're coming at you with a maul after already putting one over'.

"If you get that, it massively changes the picture of the game on the scoreboard and on their motivation.

"We'll look at all the decisions and that's the obvious one that comes to mind but not the 14 points we conceded at the start, which is a lot more important."

Saints had fallen 14-0 down after conceding two early tries, but they battled back to lead 25-14 with 15 minutes to go, despite losing JJ Tonks and Tom Collins to the sin bin in the second half.

However, Harlequins scored twice late on to secure the victory in front of a jubilant home crowd, leaving Saints to wonder what might have been.

"It was a game we should have won - and probably by more than two or three points," Ferguson said.

"It's two weeks on the trot now that we've allowed teams to get away from us.

"You always look at the last five minutes but I go back to the first 10, 15 minutes because we had to claw points back from there.

"We got back into the game and controlled parts of it from there but it's part of the learning for a young group.

"We got footholds in the game to get scoreboard advantage but annoyingly we didn't do that today."