Tom Wood is determined to finish Northampton Saints’ Aviva Premiership campaign on a positive note.
Although acknowledging that the Saints had underperformed by their own high standards – the team is missing out on the Aviva Premiership semi-finals for the first time since 2009 – Wood says that the team is determined to get the job done when they head to Kingsholm on Saturday afternoon.
Jim Mallinder’s men travel to Gloucester Rugby knowing defeat could see them miss out on a place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby top six.
Northampton are currently fifth and, with Harlequins and Sale Sharks just one and two points further adrift respectively, defeat to the Cherry and Whites could see them miss out on the top six finish which is needed to guarantee their spot at the top table of European rugby next season.
"Gloucester won’t be a push over especially at home and we want to finish on a high," said Wood.
"We said we wanted to do that last week in our last home game because we wanted to give the fans something to smile about and this weekend we need to secure that top flight European rugby slot for next year and anything other than that would be a disaster.
"We are very motivated to get the job done but it will be a tough ask because Gloucester have just hit some form at the wrong time for us but we are always confident we can win on the day.
"We have not really got going this season. We have had good spells and got some big results and wins but it has been a very challenging season – I think it has for all of the teams with the World Cup disruption early on, with back to back games with no time to rest and rotate the teams like we would with an LV= Cup.
"It really took it out of us and I think that has showed in our up-and-down performances. We have had some great wins but we have also really underperformed on occasions and that has let us down. We have lost to three bottom of the table teams away from home and that is not what a championship-winning team is made of – hence why we are not in the top four."
Wood was speaking at an Aviva Tackling Numbers event at Lumbertubs Primary School in Northampton, where he was joined by team-mate Ethan Waller.
Aviva Tackling Numbers is delivered in 720 primary schools across three years by all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, and through the programme 40,000 children have been introduced to maths outside the regular classroom environment – with players themselves taking part in some of the lessons.
Around 80 per cent of teachers involved in the scheme rated it as effective at teaching national curriculum numeracy.
And Waller said: "It has been a really good day and it is always nice to see firsthand Aviva Tackling Numbers in action. It is perfect for the kids because they are not just writing numbers down in a book, they are making practical sense of it and hopefully it is a bit more interesting.
"It is massively important that the players help with these community programmes. The amount of support that we receive on game day is unbelievable and it is great to give back some support to those people who back us on the weekend.
"Northampton is such a big rugby town and this helps give back in little ways and gives us a chance to do our bit for the community."
Tom Wood was speaking at an Aviva Tackling Numbers session. In partnership with Premiership Rugby, #AvivaTacklingNumbers helps 7-9 year olds put foundations in place for better financial skills later in life through the power of rugby. To take a maths test and win tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, visit aviva.co.uk/tacklingnumbers.