“It’s almost like the last man standing wins this league.”
That’s Jon Fisher’s assessment of the Aviva Premiership ‘grind’, which is now less than two months from reaching its conclusion.
Clubs are desperately trying to freshen up their players ahead of the final push and Saints get a chance to do just that this weekend.
Having been in training earlier this week, the squad will get a weekend off to reinvigorate minds and bodies ahead of next Saturday’s game against Saracens.
And that should, in theory, give Saints and edge, as Sarries travelled to face Clermont Auvergne in a bruising Champions Cup semi-final in St Etienne on Saturday.
There is no doubt that Jim Mallinder’s men need the break.
After mentally and physically damaging defeats to Clermont and Exeter on successive weeks, they need to get away.
Although it is their job, players are not machines, they are human beings who, as Ken Pisi said last week, need a chance to clear their minds.
Especially in a league as physically demanding as the Premiership and without the ability to call on a plethora of fresh international players as some Top 14 teams can.
“Everyone buys into the grind,” said Fisher, who is pushing for a starting spot. “There’s a lot of rugby to be played and it’s almost like last man standing wins this league.
“I think we would prefer to crack on after the defeats at Clermont and Exeter - we’d prefer to have a chance to put things right.
“But there’s an opportunity to rest some guys who need a break.”
And director of rugby concurs with his flanker’s assessment, conceding it is a good time for Saints to have a bit of time to get themselves back on track.
“It probably has (come at a good time),” said Mallinder. “It has given us a bit of time to refocus and get together.
“We’ve lost to two very good sides, but we’ve just got to take it, move on and look at the positives.
“We made some bad mistakes last weekend and we need to work on that and make sure we get things right.”
And Saints know they must get things right against Saracens as they bid to stretch a six-point lead over Mark McCall’s men and secure a top-two spot.
“I’m disappointed that we lost last weekend because we’d have loved to have won and pretty much guaranteed a ome semi-final,” said Mallinder.
“But we’ve got three games left and we’ve seen enough that we’re still a good side.”