Grayson feeling the pressure
February 17, 2007
Northampton head coach Paul Grayson admits his side are feeling the pressure in the battle to beat the drop from the Guinness Premiership.
The defeat against Harlequins at Franklin's Gardens coupled with Worcester taking a losing bonus point from the clash with leaders Leicester, leaves Northampton just three points clear of the bottom team.
Northampton were denied a losing bonus point by Steve So'oialo's late try which sealed a fifth straight home defeat for Saints.
Grayson welcomed back Bruce Reihana, but the former All Black was powerless to prevent his side slipping deeper into relegation trouble.
Grayson said: ``There's a lot of pressure out there and that makes people tighten up and make mistakes.
``The mood in training during the week is good, but there's a weight on the players' shoulders.
``It's easy to talk about playing your way out of trouble, but doing it is another.
``There are a lot of tough games coming up.''
Ben Cohen's stunning solo try within seconds of the second half restarting had put Northampton 12-7 in front.
But David Strettle added to his blossoming reputation with a well-worked try for Quins and Andrew Jarvis added three penalties which put the game beyond the home side.
Grayson felt Quins' opening try from Andy Gomarsall should have been chalked off for offside and added: ``We made a lot of mistakes in the first half.
``We looked for a good start for the second half and got that, but we let them back into the game pretty easily.''
Quins' director of rugby Dean Richards praised his side for coming through a physical battle to claim their sixth win in seven games.
He said: ``I have not seen a physical confrontation like that for a little while. If Northampton concentrated a bit more on rugby instead of the other side of things they would not be where they are.
``This is a difficult place to play and our boys fronted up very well.
``There's a confidence in the camp which will take us through to the end of the season, but there are some difficult games coming up and we know we have to be at our best to win these games.''
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength
'Nothing can prepare you for the noise of the Millennium Stadium though, you just can't hear anything." Tom Hamilton talks to Cory Allen
Following a weekend where Wales suffered more heartbreak against Australia and the Aviva Premiership showed its class, the Monday Maul looks back at some of the key talking points