Fa'atoina Autagavaia dives over for his first half try © www.redhatphoto.com
Rugby News DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34 Mallinder proud of performance in tough conditions
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that he was proud of how the Saints team performed in the bonus point LV= Cup win at Rodney Parade.
The travellers put five tries past Newport-Gwent Dragons to maintain their 100 percent record in the competition and put one foot firmly into the semi-finals for a fourth time in five seasons.
Fa’atoina Autagavaia and Gareth Denman both got their first tries in the first team, with Mike Haywood, GJ Van Velze and a Penalty Try, together with nine points from fly half Glenn Dickson, sending the Saints home with a maximum haul.
But despite these scores, and the Saints keeping the Dragons pointless in the second half, the afternoon’s most memorable aspect was the weather, with a hail storm stopping play for a few minutes in the first half and heavy rain and a strong wind battering Rodney Parade for much of the day.
“I’ve played and been involved in some snow storms and hail storms, but never anything quite as severe as that,” Mallinder told SaintsTV. “To see players having to physically turn around and not be able to see the ball was incredible. The referee did the right thing - or maybe the players made the decision for him! - to get off and continue after a few minutes.
“When we first came out there was a little bit of wind and wet underfoot, but the wind picked up, the hail came down and at half-time some of the lads were shivering in the changing room. Once you get cold and there’s a wind it’s difficult, so I was even more proud of the players in the way they played.
“There was a massive performance from the pack, we scrummaged well for 80 minutes, our half-backs controlled the game and our backs defended well and took their chances.”
Come the end of Sunday’s games the Saints may have a place in the LV= Cup semi-finals confirmed already. But only one more win will guarantee a home tie in March’s knockout stages. The Saints host Saracens - themselves pushing for a semi-final - next Saturday, and with less than 500 tickets remaining time is running out to book your place at Franklin’s Gardens!
Tickets can be booked online throughout the weekend by CLICKING HERE and following the straightforward instructions!