Ludlam insists Saints will use Saracens defeat as fuel ahead of next season

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Lewis Ludlam was left hurt but determined after Saints suffered a 38-15 defeat at Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership play-off semi-final on Saturday afternoon.

Phil Dowson's side were 21-3 down at the break but they battled back to nine points down thanks to superb scores from Alex Mitchell and James Ramm.

Saracens would not allow any late dramatics though as they bagged a penalty try and a score from Max Malins to make sure they would be at the May 27 grand final.

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It was the second year in succession that Saints had suffered semi-final heartache following the loss at eventual champions Leicester Tigers last season.

Lewis LudlamLewis Ludlam
Lewis Ludlam

And skipper Ludlam said: "We just feel like we missed out on a chance to get our own slice of history, which hurts.

"But what's important now is that we build on this.

"The lads have got five weeks off and we've got to make sure we stay tight.

"We come in next season and we need to use this as fuel again.

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"It's never easy to miss out in the semi-finals two years in a row but we've got to come back better."

Saracens wing Sean Maitland scored twice during the first half, having escaped a card for taking George Furbank out in the air.

Ivan van Zyl also dotted down before the break as the hosts smothered Saints to leave them with a mountain to climb.

And that task proved to be too much for the black, green and gold.

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"It's frustrating because we felt like we gave them a few easy outs and penalties, which allowed them to get into our 22 and they got the scoreboard ticking from that," Ludlam said.

"What I'm proud of is that we fought our way back into it, but what's important now is that we learn we can't put ourselves in that position.

"It's been the story of the year that we've allowed teams in and allowed them territory to get into the game.

"If we cut those bits out of our game, we can be a team that's really dangerous and really flying.

"We're hurting but we've got to come back better."

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Ludlam insists Saints never felt they were out of the game, despite the big half-time deficit.

"We always felt like we were in it," he said.

"We're Saints, we're good at scoring points and that's our identity.

"We're always in it.

"What our work-on has to be is to try to keep other teams out of it.

"We know we can score points, we can keep our game ticking and we can attack teams but it's about being more steely defensively so we're not in positions where we have to fight our way back into it."