The weekend has come at the perfect time for the saints
But, in truth, what a relief it is for them that they are not.
Yes, they would have liked to be involved in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.
But with the injuries piling up, one wonders what kind of team they could have fielded against the Tigers for the second time in as many weeks.
The team is, of course, pretty deep these days.
But there’s no doubt that a weekend off is exactly what they need ahead of a five-game sprint at the end of the Gallagher Premiership regular season.
The Saints have huge games against Gloucester, Wasps, Newcastle Falcons, Exeter Chiefs and Bath ahead.
They probably have to win at least four of them to have any hope of winning a Premiership play-off place.
And whichever way you see it, that has to be the main goal of this club.
Because while some will say they have no chance of winning the league this season, stranger things have certainly happened in the sport.
And if you get into position, you never know what’s going to happen.
Take 2013 when the Saints were huge underdogs heading to the Saracens for a play-off semi-final.
Jim Mallinder’s men marched to Allianz Park and came out with an incredible victory.
They didn’t finish the job as Dylan Hartley was sent off as Leicester won the grand final at Twickenham.
But Saints had arrived there and hadn’t seen Hartley red, chances are Mallinder’s men have won their first, and so far only, Premiership title a year earlier than them.
The Saints were in great shape in 2021, winning six of their seven away matches.
So if they can arrange a reunion in Bristol, where they nearly won in December, or Exeter, where they won in February, they’ll believe they have a chance.
If they were to push players into action again this weekend, those chances would be slimmer.
The Saints need as much rest as they can get to aim for each of the remaining games this season.
They lost three players before the game even started at Welford Road last weekend, with Teimana Harrison, Ehren Painter and Ollie Sleightholme all struck off the roster.
“Teimana Harrison had a little hamstring strain and we were hoping it would be good on game morning, but it wasn’t,” Saints boss Chris Boyd said.
“Then we had two back spasms, one at Ollie Sleightholme and one at Ehren Painter, so it’s really disappointing for these three guys, but life goes on.
Thus, three players were replaced before kick-off, and two players before the start of the second half, Alex Mitchell and Piers Francis no longer able to play.
Mitchell suffered what appeared to be a leg injury, as Francis’ shoulder popped out of its socket twice as he attempted to fight.
Then there was Dan Biggar, who was in the middle of a brutal battle.
Biggar looked like he had to make it five minutes from time, which would have left the Saints two short men as JJ Tonks had just been sentenced.
But despite being aided on the pitch by two medics, Biggar managed to come back, tackling Jasper Wiese as the Saints survived to claim a 23-18 victory on derby day.
It was a performance that demanded every ounce of effort, and one that you think will wreak havoc on the Tigers when they host the fresh and pulling Ulster tonight.
For the Saints, it is time to get up before the break-in.
And Boss Boyd said, “There are a lot of beaten and bruised bodies and this week off has probably come at a good time.
“Most players will be sane about that because normally in this situation where you have a window like this, everyone would jump on a plane to go to Portugal or Spain or Croatia or Cape Verde or whatever. share, but this is not possible in the current. environment.
“Most guys will have a pretty safe time.
“We come back with two games, Gloucester at home and Newcastle away, which are important games for us, so we have to prepare well for those.