Kyle Sinckler insists his side’s efforts in defence are not the problem ahead of Harlequins’ Aviva Premiership Rugby clash with Northampton Saints this afternoon.
Quins have not beaten Saints in their last seven meetings, and went down last weekend to an all-star showing from Wasps in the second half, who ran in seven tries in Coventry.
But Sinckler is adamant that while John Kingston’s side have started the season in frustratingly inconsistent fashion, it is not simply a case of conceding too many tries.
And the 23-year-old tighthead prop is calling on his teammates to iron out the small errors that have proved costly so far in this season’s Aviva Premiership Rugby.
“To say we were disappointed last week is an understatement,” he said. “If you actually watch the game for 60 minutes we were well in it, but couldn’t convert possession and territory.
“Wasps are a quality side – they had a sniff and they took it – but we were upset and frustrated after the game, but we know if we listen to the coaches and stick to the plan the results will come.
“I certainly wouldn’t say we are conceding too much though. If you look at it just in terms of numbers then maybe, but we were strong in defence against Saracens, Bristol was a maul, Exeter was two mauls and an interception we threw.
“So when you actually break it down and look at it, we’re giving too many points away – it’s an overthrow at a line-out or a missed lift, and a missed tackle against a quality player.
“So I don’t think it’s a defensive issue. Nick Easter has done a brilliant job I think, and when you see the games like against Saracens and Bristol, the defence was firing and getting the ball back for the likes of Marland Yarde to do their stuff.”
The last clash between these sides was one of the games of last season’s Aviva Premiership Rugby, as Harlequins failed to find touch with the clock in the red and Saints’ Ben Foden scored a dramatic game-winning try.
“I don’t know if you can count last year as a loss! I’ve never been involved in a game like that enough and hopefully won’t be again,” said Sinckler.
“We’re massively excited to be back at the Stoop, but it will be a huge test with a big Saints pack coming down – Louis Picamoles at No.8 is one of the best in the world at what he does.
“We definitely want to put things right and it will be one to watch.”
Sinckler signed a new three-year deal to remain at boyhood club Quins this week, and while he continues to stake his claim as one of the most promising young front-rowers in the country, his desire is to restore the glory days to the Stoop.
He added: “I’m so grateful to the club for being so loyal to me since I was just 13 years old when I was in the academy, right through until I signed on at 18.
“They have stuck with me through thick and thin – I’m probably not the easiest of characters to get along with all the time – but they’ve known me since I was a kid.
“I’m very excited to be here for the next three years as it feels like home. This is where I started and I want to repay their faith by winning.
“When I was in the academy guys like Danny [Care], Jordy [Turner-Hall], Ugo [Monye], George Robson and Ollie Kohn won the Challenge Cup, Aviva Premiership and the LV= Cup. That’s the sort of success I want to repeat.
“With the squad we’ve got and the nucleus of young players who are Quins players through and through, if we can do that it will be really special.”