The first home matches of the season took place this afternoon with the Saints securing a 35-19 victory over the Cornish Pirates followed by a 52-5 victory over Rotherham Titans at the Gardens.
The Pirates had the first opportunity to get on the scoreboard, with Will Cargill’s attempt going just wide of the uprights, before Alex Waller crossed in the left corner. Stephen Myler was on target with the conversion to give the home side a 7-0 lead inside 10 minutes.
A Teimana Harrison break up the middle allowed Ken Pisi to storm up the right touchline before offloading to Sion Bennett who was brought down illegally. The Pirates’ second row Brett Beukeboom was sent to the sin bin for the offence before Myler crossed in the 22nd minute. His conversion gave the Saints a 14-point cushion.
Captain Dylan Hartley added a try from the back of a driving maul before some superb quick hands from Harry Mallinder allowed the Saints to clear upfield. Mallinder was subsequently involved with some great pressure to force an attacking scrum 5m from the Pirates line.
Mallinder was then rewarded for his efforts to score the Saints’ fourth converted try of the afternoon for a 28-0 lead as half time approached. The Pirates eventually got on the scoreboard thanks to a 38th minute converted try from number eight Tom Duncan.
With the second half underway, Howard Packman showed his pace up the left touchline to cross and touchdown under the posts for the Saints’ fifth converted try of the afternoon.
The Pirates then capitalised on a Saints knock on inside their own 22, with Jack Arnott storming through the Saints defence at pace to touchdown in the 65th minute. Will Cargill’s conversion made the score 35-14.
With the match in its final stages, Dan Lee then crossed for the Pirates out wide with just two minutes remaining to make the final score 35-19 to the Saints.
SAINTS TEAM AGAINST CORNISH PIRATES
Tuala; K Pisi, G Pisi, Mallinder, Packman; Myler, Kessell; A Waller, Hartley (capt), Hill, Paterson, J Onojaife, Gibson, Nutley, Harrison
SUBS: E Waller, Fish, Beesley, Denman, Parkins, Peters, Cheishvili, Marshall, Bennett, Groom, Olver, Green, Dingwall, Strachan, Furbank
May; Mole, Dancer, De Battista, Evans; Cargill, Day; Walker, Innard, Gendall, Pascoe, Morgan (capt), Parker, Cheesman, Duncan
In the second match against Rotherham Titans, the Saints found themselves a try down after 21 minutes as back rower Laurence Cowen's try gave the Titans a 5-0 lead, with the conversion missed.
Luther Burrell’s try levelled the scores however, with the England centre burrowing over from short range and Lee Dickson adding the extras.
The Saints then took the lead after 36 minutes with an excellent counter attack from just outside their own 22. Quick hands from Tom Collins and Luther Burrell found Tom Stephenson in space on the left wing and the centre raced over the line to score the Saints second try of the match and give the home side a 12-5 advantage.
The Saints drew the first blood in the second half as Dickson bundled over from a few metres out and subsequently converted his own try to extend the Saints’ lead to 19-5. He was then back on the scoreboard just minutes later, once again bundling over from short range to make the score 26-5 to the Saints following his own conversion.
Juan Pablo Estelles, making his debut for the Saints, then made an excellent break, at speed, down the left touchline in a well executed counter attack following a turnover. Estelles passed inside to Dickson who made it all the way into the Titans’ 22 before the ball was shipped wide, allowing Lewis Ludlam to cross the whitewash. Dickson added the conversion for a 33-5 scoreline with just under 25 minutes to play.
Fly half JJ Hanrahan then extended the Saints lead in the 68th minute, with Sam Olver’s conversion adding the extras to give the Saints a 35-point advantage. Hanrahan then followed Dickson’s lead and scored his second try just minutes after his first, dancing through the Titans defence from just outside the 22. Olver added the extras.
George Furbank scored the final try of the afternoon, latching on to a pass out wide to touchdown in the right corner to give the Saints a 52-5 victory.
SAINTS TEAM AGAINST ROTHERHAM TITANS
Foden: Estelles, Stephenson, Burrell, Collins; Hanrahan, Dickson; Ma’afu, Clare, Brookes, Moon, Craig, Wood (capt), Ludlam, Picamoles
SUBS: Beesley, Fish, Denman, Parkins, Peters, Cheishvili, Marshall, Bennett, Groom, Olver, Green, Dingwall, Strachan, Furbank
Goodwin; Foley, Hayes, Owen, Henry; Foley, Tresidder; Williams, Cole, Rees, Salmon, Hicks, Curry, Cowen, Tyas