Director of Rugby Chris Boyd admitted Northampton Saints’ bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons was vital in keeping his side firmly in the race for the Gallagher Premiership’s top four.
The men in Black, Green and Gold put in a clinical performance in Newcastle; after a cagey opening 20 minutes from both sides, Saints went through the gears and eventually ran in five tries at Kingston Park.
Wingers Tom Collins and Courtnall Skosan got Northampton ahead before the break, with Sam Matavesi, George Furbank and Tom James all adding second-half tries in the 44-8 triumph, and Dan Biggar notching 17 points with the boot.
The win moved Saints back up to fifth spot in the league table, and Boyd was satisfied with several elements of his side’s play in the North East – particularly the discipline and defensive effort.
“We did certain things well at different times but over the 80 minutes we were certainly very happy to come here and get five points because we haven’t done that very often of late,” he said.
“We had a healthy lead at half-time from a couple of reasonably long-range tries and then managed to build on that, so there was a lot to be happy with.
“The defence was a very big plus today; the guys worked hard, got connected and we didn’t concede easily.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“We controlled the middle of the ground a lot better, so we didn’t allow the opposition into our back third as often as we have in the past few weeks. If you control the ground, you control the momentum and the pressure, and if you’re patient you’ll get some crumbs.
“This win keeps us in touch. With the other results, we’re now fifth and you don’t want to be going backwards in the ladder.
“We’ve stopped talking about that [league position] and concentrated on our performance, but this was an important win.”
Teimana Harrison came back from injury into Saints’ side for the first time since October for the clash in Newcastle, with Tom Collins also returning for his first appearance in eight weeks.
Boyd was pleased with the contributions from the duo, among others, in what was a solid team performance overall.
He added: “I thought it was a pretty decent effort from Teimana Harrison, coming back in after a long break, and Tommy Collins too was good on his return to the team.
“It was a pretty balanced performance; I don’t think anyone particularly stood out, but then again there’s no-one you could look at and say they had a howler.
“Teimana always gives 100 per cent. He’s not the biggest rooster in the world but he makes his tackles and he’ll always go forward.
“So does Luds [Lewis Ludlam], Woody [Tom Wood] grinds away with the old diesel engine, and I thought Api [Ratuniyarawa] was pretty good as well, so there’s a few decent workers in there.”