Alan Dickens praised Will Hooley's first team debut © Getty Images
Rugby News SAINTS 20 SARACENS 16 Dickens hails Hooley debut
Defence coach Alan Dickens praised Will Hooley's debut performance in the LV= Cup Round 4 win over Saracens.
The 20-year-old fly half, who has been dual registered with Moseley this season, landed a conversion and a penalty in tricky wind conditions. But he also caught the eye with ball in hand, spotting the space out wide for James Wilson's opening try and combining well with Kahn Fotuali'i in the half-backs.
"I thought Will Hooley did really well," Dickens said. "He'll probably be a bit annoyed about his first kick, but one of the big positives was that he got on with it, his head stayed up and he bossed the team around the pitch.
"Will's done well for Moseley in the Championship over the past few weeks, that's the feedback we've had from [Moseley coach] Kevin Maggs and he's done lots of video work with Alex King.
"Playing is the best way to learn, and Will's showing the benefits of that.
"We're now fortunate to have Stephen Myler, and have the experience of Glenn Dickson as well as Will, who's just come out of the England Under-20s, and Sam Olver, who is in the England Under-20s."
The 20-16 victory, which saw James Wilson open the scoring after 14 minutes and Samu Manoa grab two second half tries in a Travis Perkins man of the match performance, confirmed a home LV= Cup semi-final for the Saints, which will be played against Saracens on the weekend of March 8th/9th.
The Men in Black showed how tough a prospect they will be in the knockouts, taking the lead on two occasions, the last time with 14 minutes to go. And Dickens praised the way the team kept their heads in that pressured situation.
"The boys stayed in control, with players like Will, Kahn Fotuali'i, Mike Haywood and GJ Van Velze, all doing the talking on the pitch and coming up with the answers," he added. "The scrum gave us the foothold to get into their half and put us in the positions to have an attacking platform."
The Saints are one of two teams to have an unbeaten record in the pool stages of the 2013/14 LV= Cup, and Dickens said that the tournament had been a good experience, commenting: "The LV= Cup has been a positive for us, with plenty of young players and Academy graduates making their first team debuts.
"I'm really pleased that they've come in, stood up, performed well, and earned us a home semi-final. I'm sure the 13-and-a-half thousand who were here today will be back here in a few weeks' time."
Ticket details for the LV= Cup semi-final will be released in due course. But in the meantime the Saints have a big Aviva Premiership clash with Worcester Warriors on Saturday, February 15th. Tickets are on sale now - book online by CLICKING HERE and following the straightforward instructions! Print@Home to save the admin fees and beat the queues on match day.