Ken Pisi is feeling positive after a hard week’s work in France.
The Saints headed south this week for a pre-season training camp that ended with Saturday’s Vaquerin Challenge clash with Castres in a baking hot Camares.
The Samoan international played in the opening 40 minutes against one of last season’s Top 14 knockout clubs, and afterwards described a week that had plenty of emphasis on team building as well as hard work on the training pitch.
"It’s been hot, but good as well," the winger said. "The boys have bonded well. We’ve worked hard but had an activity day rock climbing as well. We’ve come closer as a group and hopefully we can build on that when we get home.
“There are a few new players here and we’ve needed to get them knowing what Saints is like as a team and what we do off the field. It’s like a family.
"The training sessions have been tough, and maybe had a bit of a toll on the legs in the game. They felt a bit heavy, but that’s what pre-season is for."
Pisi missed the pre-season 12 months ago as part of the Samoan Rugby World Cup squad. And after admitting that integrating back into the squad last season had its challenges he said that he has seen the benefits of a full summer at Franklin’s Gardens this time around.
"Pre-season has been successful, I think," he added. "We’ve seen some of the boys transformed, including myself.
"Last year was difficult to come back into the Saints after the World Cup, it took a bit of time to adjust. But being here from day one has helped me massively."
Saints did come out on the wrong side of the result at the end of the week, going down 14-31 to a Castres outfit that begins its own Top 14 campaign next week. But with Tom Wood and Teimana Harrison finishing off good tries in each half Pisi believes that the squad can be positive going forward.
"This was our first game and Castres are starting their own tournament next week," he said. "We can take a lot of positives out of this, but there’s a lot to work on as well before the Rotherham and Cornish Pirates games."
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