Director of Rugby Chris Boyd was impressed with the way his Northampton Saints side pulled away from Worcester Warriors on Saturday.
After an even tussle during the opening 40 minutes, the men in Black, Green and Gold looked to be heading into the sheds with a narrow 8-7 advantage.
But Ollie Sleightholme’s try – his first of four on the day – in the dying moments of the half, swiftly followed by a sensational team effort finished by Alex Mitchell just after the break, saw Saints break clear and plant their foot firmly on the accelerator.
Another six tries followed before the full-time whistle for Northampton, who eventually ran out 62-14 winners, and after coming out on either side of a series of close encounters in recent months, Boyd admitted he was relieved to be able to enjoy some breathing room late on.
“It was certainly nice for us not to be pulling our hair out in the last 15 minutes!” Boyd said.
“We’ve got through the middle of games and not closed them out so to finish the game in the way we did on Saturday was good for us.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“I’ve been on the back end of games like this in my career and when the floodgates open nothing seems to go right, so it’s good for the side that’s got all the energy and momentum.
“It was a tough place for them to be, but good for us.
“We let them dominate the early exchanges and they got across the line effectively, getting metres.
“Our defence was poor initially, but once we got on top of them the floodgates started to open a wee bit, particularly when we they were numbers down and that was unfortunate for them really.”
Injuries forced Saints’ backline to adapt quickly against Worcester, with George Furbank and Rory Hutchinson limping off during the first half and Piers Francis also forced off for an HIA after the interval.
But with replacements Tommy Freeman, Fraser Dingwall and Tom James – plus those already on the field – able to cover a number of positions, Northampton were not exposed and the men in Black, Green and Gold went through the gears in the closing stages.
Boyd added: “Tommy [Freeman]’s a very talented young man. He had to go in at centre at one point, but he’s played a lot of his football at school at 10 so we can drop him into different positions and there wasn’t a whole bunch of pressure.
“We ended up with a half-back (Tom James) on the wing, so it was a bit of a mix, but the fact we showed composure and racked up a few points was pleasing.”