Bedford Blues ended their pre-season with a 47-3 defeat to Saracens, but backs coach Paul Larkin believes there are plenty of positives to take from the match.
Saracens ran in seven tries against Bedford; including two from Tim Streatham, Tom Whiteley, Will Fraser, Matt Hankin and two penalty tries.
Bedford’s only points arrived early on via the boot of James Pritchard, but the Blues struggled to cope with the European giants who used more than 30 players in the match.
Speaking about the defeat, Larkin identified Bedford’s defensive effort as a positive from the match.
Larkin said: “From a defensive point of view tonight was very important for us, and we are pleased with how it went.
“Most of Saracens’ tries arrived when we were down to 14 men and it is always going to be difficult playing a team like Saracens with 15 men, let alone 14.
“In the first half we showed good shape in our defence, but we need to work on our discipline and composure when we have the ball.
“We didn’t quite get the control of our ball, especially in their 22, but overall we were pleased with how it went.”
Saracens, who included many internationals in their squad, changed their whole forward pack at half-time and as a result ran in five unanswered tries in the second half, but Larkin believes that showed Bedford respect.
“Saracens brought 30 good players with them tonight and thus showing us huge respect.
“We knew we had to show enthusiasm and endeavour in defence against a top Premiership side and we feel we did all that.”
Bedford’s pre-season ends now and they start the serious work on Friday night when they travel to Nottingham to start their Championship campaign.
“We know we can put pressure on their lineout and set-piece, as well as around the pitch defensively, thus why the match against Saracens was a perfect preparation for that,” said Larkin.
“I’m pretty certain we will be able to meet the challenge defensively head-on against Nottingham.
“However we will need to concentrate on our attacking work this week and make sure we’re composed and efficient when we have the ball. “We didn’t have the ball a lot against Saracens, but this is a match all of us here are relishing.”