League points the priority for Saints skipper Ludlam

You get the feeling that the 12 days between games will be a very long time for Lewis Ludlam.
Lewis Ludlam scored for Saints against Wasps but couldn't save his side from defeatLewis Ludlam scored for Saints against Wasps but couldn't save his side from defeat
Lewis Ludlam scored for Saints against Wasps but couldn't save his side from defeat

Because after last Sunday’s 26-20 defeat at Wasps, the Saints skipper was a picture of determination.

So much so, that you felt he almost wanted to get involved in the women’s game that followed directly after the Premiership encounter.

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Ludlam was far from happy with how Saints performed as a string of second-half penalties sent them to their first defeat of the season.

The skipper, who scored during the second half against Wasps, looked desperate to right the wrongs immediately after the final whistle blew.

But he will have to wait longer than normal as this is one of two Premiership bye weeks for Saints, meaning they don’t return to action until Worcester Warriors come calling at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on October 22.

“It’s a difficult one because you don’t want to be sitting on a loss for two weeks - you want to get back out there and put things right,” Ludlam said.

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“We’ve got time to learn our lessons and we’ve got a lot to think about.

“We’ve got the same messages to learn that we took into the game at Wasps and we didn’t learn them so we need to start.

“We’ve got time to have a long think and we’ve got to be ready to be better and get stuck in at home.

“I’ve just been staying local this week, keeping myself ticking over and I’m ready to get back at it.”

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You get the feeling Worcester will feel the full force of Ludlam’s determination to set the record straight next week.

But for now, the 25-year-old can only reflect on a start to the season that has seen Saints win three of their four games so far.

He said: “If you’d have said at the start of the block that we’d win three from four with the fixtures that came up, we’d probably have said it was a good outcome, but we let a real opportunity go amiss on Sunday.

“We had the chance to go four from four, away from home, into a bye week - you don’t know how important that’s going to be further down the line.

“I’m really disappointed with how we played on Sunday.”

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As for his own form, Ludlam is never satisfied, constantly searching for improvement.

He said: “There’s loads of work-ons for me, it’s never perfect.

“My focus is very much on winning games and we didn’t win on Sunday so we’re going to have to take a long, hard look at ourselves.

“We need to think about where we’re at as a team and we’re obviously not taking messages on as we should be.

“We’ve got these two weeks to get it right.”

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With England’s autumn international fixtures now not too far away, Ludlam was asked plenty of Red Rose-related questions.

But he is determined to keep his focus on club matters.

“For me it doesn’t work to be thinking about that (England selection) too much,” Ludlam said.

“For me it’s about performing on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to make sure I’m a better player for the weekend.

“If I look after that, the rest will look after itself.

“That decision is out of my hands so my focus is very much on Saints and winning games so whatever happens happens.”

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Ludlam has met England forwards coach Richard Cockerill and been in communication with the former Leicester Tigers boss.

He said: “It’s weird him coming into the club and having meetings with him at the Gardens.

“He probably felt a little bit shifty around the place but a guy with his experience and the amount of clubs he’s been at, it’s awesome to work with him.

“I’m just trying to learn as much as possible from him because he’s got a fantastic repertoire.

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“It’s just about getting back to where I was before and what works for me and what’s going to help me perform at the weekend.

“He said the phone line is always open for me to get help from him to progress and I’m trying to learn as much as possible.”