Northampton Saints are going to have to dig deep in more ways than one if they are to turn their Aviva Premiership Rugby season around – according to winger Jamie Elliott.
Last year’s table toppers in the regular season, Saints currently sit sixth in the table with only four wins from their first ten league games.
The arrival of the Six Nations means the likes of Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes will be seconded to England duty and the Saints’ squad depth will be put to the test.
But while the squad will be stretched, opportunity knocks and Elliott will be keen to make the most of George North’s absence with Wales.
And the 23-year-old admits it is high time Saints turned things around after hitting their nadir in their home defeat to Wasps last time out.
“That first half against Wasps didn’t reflect what we are as a team,” he said.
“That was the worst half we have had as a team this season – that was not us at all. In the second half we came out and were a different team.
“This is definitely a good chance for the younger guys, the squad to step up and show what they can do.
“Obviously I’m only 23 so I’m not a senior player! This is a great chance for the young guys but also for people like me.
“With those guys absent it is up to us to fly the flag for Northampton, show what we can do and see where it gets us for when they come back. We are ready to go full steam ahead.
“It’s time for us to make a stand. It does not get easier, each Premiership game is tough and everyone is fighting for position, it’s just about putting your body on the line.”
Elliott’s rallying cry is well-timed with Saints facing a tough trip to the Stoop on Saturday to face a Harlequins side currently sitting fourth.
But considering Saints have not hit the heights yet, it has hardly been a disastrous campaign.
They are in the top six domestically and snuck into the Champions Cup quarter-finals as well and Elliott is hoping his side can turn the corner soon.
“There are no easy games in this league, every single weekend you are involved in a big game,” he added.
“Maybe last season we had the bounce of the ball, and the referee’s decisions and things like that go our way and this year they haven’t.
“But we have got to dig deep and turn things around.
“We want to be winning more games than we are losing and at the moment we are not doing that.
“But there is still a long way to go in this season and I definitely feel like you have not seen the best of Northampton Saints this season.
“We are sixth now so it’s exciting to think where we could get to when we get it right.”