Northampton Saints captain Lewis Ludlam praised his side’s defensive improvement in Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup but noted that they lacked the clinical edge required to beat Munster Rugby.

Northampton were thrashed 46-12 at Stade Rochelais in the opening round, but were far more competitive against Munster on Sunday, though they ultimately went down 17-6 at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

“This was a really frustrating one because from last week we fixed up a lot of the errors we wanted to fix up – in terms of defence, in terms of being cagier, in terms of being harder to score against, which I think were really good,” he said.

“However, the reality is they converted their points and we didn’t. We had heaps of territory, heaps of possession, but couldn’t convert that into points, which is a frustrating thing.”

Ludlam couldn’t fault his team’s commitment and called for continued improvement in their domestic fixtures before Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup, which sees them visit Munster on January 14.

“I hate to keep banging the drum on the effort and desire, but it is there and that’s the great thing,” he added.

“We need to keep fixing our game up because we were better than last week and in the New Year [against Harlequins] we’ll be better, and then the next week we’ll be better again.

“We just need to keep learning our lessons and see where it gets us, but in terms of effort and desire, I can’t ask for more from this group of boys.”