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Bedford 21-45 Saints: Seven-try Saints start in style

Ben Nutley scored one and set one up at Goldington Road © www.atsportphoto.com

Rugby News, Match Report Bedford 21-45 Saints: Seven-try Saints start in style

Ken Pisi says the Saints were pleased to start their pre-season campaign with a 45-21 win at Bedford, but also conceded that the squad have plenty more to work on before they next take to the field against Moseley and then Edinburgh next week.

"It's always nice to start pre-season with a win and it was a good workout," the wing told SaintsTV. "Credit to Bedford, they really made us work for it and there are plenty of things we need to work on ahead of next week, defence in particular I'd say. It's good that we have areas to improve though and we will fix that before we next play.

"Bedford really gave it to us in the first half but we were very good in the second half and the boys finished strong.

They also started strong and would have their first try of pre-season inside 90 seconds, a sharp counter forcing Bedford into touch and Ben Nutley breaking from the back of the subsequent lineout maul to score.

Bedford hit back through full back Martin Atkinson six minutes later but the visitors wasted no time re-establishing their five-point cushion, Jamie Elliott enjoying a simple run in on the left thanks to a raking Luther Burrell pass and Nutley's assist.

The men in green were starting to flow with ball in hand and after a little bit of patience and some lovely slight of hand from Kahn Fotuali'i, GJ van Velze went tumbling through on the inside, James Wilson adding the extras as he had for the Saints' second.

Inevitably rustiness started to creep in though and as Bedford applied the squeeze Saints found the pressure too much to handle. Atkinson again broke free to slam down on the left just minutes before completing his hat-trick to hand the hosts the lead at the break, chasing down his own dink through after Saints relinquished possession at the scrum.

Just as they had in the first half, Saints started quickly after the turnaround and George Pisi manoeuvred brilliantly through a gap before feeding Ben Foden to recapture the initiative just over two minutes in.

Courtney Lawes was next to contribute, crushing Blues debutant Michael le Bourgeois with a trademark hit and the England second row was then part of an eight man shove that carried Gareth Denman over for a score on his first Saints appearance.

With the new forwards having made their contribution, two of the backs replacements combined at speed, Tom Stephenson releasing Tom Collins after a surge from halfway but it was back to the driving game for the Saints' next score, a penalty try after continuos pressure allowing Harry Mallinder to kick his first pair of senior Saints points.

They were to prove the last of an entertaining evening and the Saints made the short journey home with plenty to smile about after their first hit out of 2013/14.

TIMELINE

2mins SAINTS Try Nutley 0-5
8mins BLUES Try Atkinson Con Sharp 7-5
12mins SAINTS Try Elliott Con Wilson 7-12
27mins SAINTS Try van Velze Con Wilson 7-19
37mins BLUES Try Atkinson Con Sharp 14-19
40mins BLUES Try Atkinson Con Sharp 21-19
HALF-TIME BLUES 21-19 SAINTS
43mins SAINTS Try Foden Con 21-26
56mins SAINTS Try Denman Con Wilson 21-33
59mins SAINTS Try Collins 21-38
75mins SAINTS Try Penalty Con Mallinder 21-45
FULL-TIME BLUES 21 SAINTS 45

ATT: 3,539

BLUES - Atkinson; Hircock, Burke, Dodge, Edwards; Sharp, Veenendaal; Fearn, Clare, Boulton, Howard, Gulliver, Armes (Tupai), Fox (capt), Vandermolen

Reps - Steenkamp, Cooper, Tupai, Harding, Stanley, Tapley, Lord, Jubb, Calder, le Bourgeois, Adamson

SAINTS - Foden (Artemyev, 56); K Pisi (Glynn, 70), G Pisi (Diggin, 56), Burrell (Stephenson, 56), Elliott (Collins, 56); Wilson (Mallinder, 56), Fotuali'i (Glynn, 40/A Day 56); E Waller (A Waller, 40), McMillan (Haywood, 40), Mercey (Denman, 40), Craig (Lawes, 40), Verbakel (C Day, 40), Dowson (capt) (Clark, 40), Nutley (Harrison, 40), van Velze (Dickinson, 40)

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