Fraser Dingwall revealed the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s was a rollercoaster of emotions after hosts Northampton Saints lifted the Bowl trophy on Saturday night.
With the new format, Saints had home advantage for both Friday’s group stage and for the finals which were played throughout Saturday afternoon.
The hosts struggled early with a 33-0 defeat to Exeter Chiefs but bounced back to beat Saracens 10-7 in their second match, though it wasn’t enough for them to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Instead, they were in the Plate competition and continued to improve throughout day two, starting with a 28-12 success over London Irish in the semi-final.
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) July 29, 2017
And the come-from-behind 24-21 success over East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers earned the biggest cheer of the weekend from the Franklin’s Gardens faithful.
And Dingwall is confident the young Saints squad learned plenty of valuable lessons in the four games they played over two days.
“It was a little bit mad, to be honest,” he admitted.
“First of all, we just weren’t very happy with how we came out; a lot of cobwebs, we were rusty on the pitch and we weren’t happy with the first game.
“But credit to the boys – all of them – for how we responded from that and just got better with each game.
“What we were talking about inside (the dressing room) was what it was all about; just getting better with each game and learning from all of our mistakes from previous games.
Less than 60 secs on the clock & trailing by 4…
Step up @ThomasCollins13! 🙌🏼
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) July 30, 2017
“We always wanted to get the season off to a good start and how we start the season sets the tone.”
More than 10,000 people came through the gates at Franklin’s Gardens over the two days as the Premiership Rugby clubs got their first hit out of the new season.
And Dingwall paid tribute to the crowds for inspiring the late tries from Tom Emery and Tom Collins, which saw Saints fight back from 21-10 down to beat the Tigers.
“It honestly makes a massive difference. Running out with that noise just lifts you. Even when you’re hanging and running after 14 minutes, it just lifts you again,” he said.
“Credit to the fans, who are always there for us.
“We’ve got a week off now and the boys worked so hard over the past four weeks, and to do this at the end really is a nice way to finish it off.”