Tom Stephenson and Will Hooley impressed in the north-west © Getty Images
Rugby News SALE 14 SAINTS 28 Nutley: We've kept on looking forward
Ben Nutley says that the Saints squad have not let themselves get too down over the past three weeks, telling SaintsTV that the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter final win over Sale Sharks was the result of the players continuing to look forward.
It was the Saints' second visit to the AJ Bell Stadium inside 12 days, and when Henry Thomas crashed over with only four minutes on the clock thoughts in the stands would have turned back to that Aviva Premiership clash, which saw Sale build on a similar score to take home the points.
But this time would be different and it was the vocal travelling supporters who headed back down the M6 looking forward to a semi-final against either Stade Francais or Harlequins, who play in Paris on Friday night.
The Saints' pack certainly got their own back on the hosts, and then some, with Nutley scoring off the back of two rolling mauls and Sam Dickinson finishing a third.
There was also a peach of a try from Ben Foden, who finished off a move begun by Lee Dickson's quick thinking inside his own half. Ken Pisi took play on, and after the Samoan had collected his own chip Will Hooley - who had a 100 percent day from the kicking tee - slid through an inch perfect grubber for Foden to dive onto.
It was an all-round performance from the Saints, which Nutley said was about both snapping the three-match losing streak and booking a home Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final.
"It was a bit of both," the flanker said. "We've come off the back of three losses, one in the LV= Cup final and obviously the East Midlands derby, so while we've been down a bit we've kept on looking forward.
"Players were rested today, and although people might say that it was a weaker squad out there we don't see it like that. There's a massive amount of competition for places now, with people like Beef [Ethan Waller] pushing his brother all year.
"We certainly can't complain. We're in a European semi-final and have been in one final already, as well as the Aviva 'A' League final. We want to win silverware and hopefully we can get that before the end of this year."
Saints will play either Stade Francais or Harlequins in the 2014 Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final at Franklin's Gardens on Friday, April 25th. Ticket information will be published on Friday, April 4th.