Northampton Saints' Gerrit-Jan van Velze queries fans' patience

Van Velze enjoying 'physicality'

Northampton number eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze has said English supporters react too quickly to poor results.

Saints have so far had an inconsistent season and are placed sixth in the Aviva Premiership.

"It's my first season. I don't normally know how players and coaches react in the northern hemisphere," South African Van Velze told BBC Look East.

"I just get he feeling that people, especially supporters, push panic buttons quite easily."

He added: "I can't see us being in a state [to panic] right now. I think we're still in the early part of Premiership rugby."

Saints recorded a memorable Heineken Cup in December, but followed that up with a disappointing and a narrow

But they remain just two points off the Premiership play-off places and can still qualify for the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup if they beat Castres next week.

"I can't see the Premiership being won or lost in the middle of a season," said 24-year-old Van Velze.

"It makes a difference that you want to play a home semi-final but there's still plenty of rugby to be played and possibly injuries to come.

"There's no need for any team to press any panic buttons yet. At Saints we need to concentrate on closing games down, especially in the last 10 minutes.

"The difference between a good team and a world class team is attention to detail. For us, concentration is a big thing. We can be on one week and off another."

The Secunda-born back rower has made 13 Northampton appearances since joining from Blue Bulls in the summer and is adjusting to the style of northern hemisphere rugby.

"I'm used to the ball being spread more and more space. It's tough," he said.

"But it's nice. Competing at the top level there's no easy ties and there's a lot of rugby so you have to look after your body."

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