'Grit and determination' key as Saints seek Exeter double
Sam Vesty says sheer grit and determination will decide the outcome of Sunday's game against Exeter Chiefs at Franklin's Gardens.
Saints have already beaten the Chiefs once this season, delivering a huge defensive display as they won 13-12 in what was a mudbath at Sandy Park back in February.
Exeter come into this clash in fine form, having eviscerated Newcastle Falcons 74-3 last weekend.
But Vesty believes Saints can deliver a victory for their fans if they show the same level of commitment and desire as they did against the Chiefs a few months ago.
"The weather will be different, but it will still come down to the same things," Vesty said.
"That game was won on a grit and a determination for 80 minutes.
"Whoever comes out with most grit and determination over 80 minutes will win this game.
"I'm sure there will be a few more tries because it's going to be drier, but ultimately you've got to be in the right frame of mind to win rugby games and that's where the first battle will be."
Whatever happens this weekend, Saints can't finish higher than fifth in the Gallagher Premiership as the play-off sides have already been confirmed.
Exeter will join Bristol, Sale and Harlequins in the end-of-season shootout.
And Vesty said: "There's a frustration for us at not being in that top four.
"We've put ourselves in too many winning positions and come away not winning too many games.
"That's the difference between finishing in the top four and not doing.
"We feel as a group that we've got the quality to be up there.
"We can be there for periods of our game but we're not quite consistent enough to get us across the line in games that have cost us points across the season.
"We've got to learn to get better at coming out on top in one-try games in what is a very competitive league."
Exeter's game against Newcastle last weekend certainly wasn't a close one as the Chiefs blew the Falcons away.
When asked whether he had paid much attention to that, Vesty said: "I watched parts of it but didn't learn too much really.
"Everyone knows what Exeter do and they do it like a machine, very consistently and very well.
"You do know what is happening and what is coming - it's about whether you can be better than what they're going to do.
"The strength of them is that they consistently do it."