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Northampton Saints' Director of Rugby Chris Boyd
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com
Northampton Saints' Director of Rugby Chris Boyd
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com
Rugby

Boyd: Five points is pleasing but Saints must improve consistency

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd insisted that while Northampton’s bonus-point victory over Worcester Warriors kept Saints fifth in the Gallagher Premiership table, there’s still plenty to be done if his side are to stay in the race for the top four. 

The men in Black, Green and Gold scored four tries as they secured a second successive bonus-point victory on the road, with efforts from Rory Hutchinson, Sam Matavesi and Alex Mitchell putting Saints 19-3 up before the break.

And while two tries from Worcester brought Warriors back into it, a late driving maul sent James Fish over to seal maximum points for Boyd’s men. 

“In terms of outcome, it was job done,” Boyd said. 

“We're very pleased with five points and with the performance in the first half, although not so much the second half – it was a game of two halves really.

“It was 19-3 at half-time and I thought we had absorbed a lot of pressure in our back third and defended really well.”

Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby

“Into quite a strong wind we had also done well to get through our back third and the middle third when we did get the ball, and we executed well when we had those opportunities.

“Mitch [Alex Mitchell] ghosted through a gap to get us to three tries before the break, and during the interval I said to the boys that it had been a very well-managed and clinical performance – however we couldn't replicate that in the second half.

“We did have our moments, but we knew how hard it would be for them to get up the field in the second half, and we gave them too many chances to do that with skill errors and discipline errors.

“Alex Mitchell made two really telling plays. The try where he ghosted through, he only needs half a metre to open up and he's gone. And then there was also a try-saving tackle he made on Duhan van der Merwe, so that's two key interventions.

“At the moment, for England, Youngs is obviously the older experienced head but there's a few good youngsters nipping around in that position.”

Saints now enjoy a bye weekend in the Premiership, and the week of rest could prove vital for the team as they prepare for a trip to Welford Road to take on Leicester Tigers in Round 16. 

Boyd added: “This is a very tough league and we're very pleased to get five points away from home – you can't do better than that.

“Everybody gets the whole week off now; people were flying out all over the place on Saturday evening and Sunday.

“We've had ten weeks of hard matches on the bounce (excluding the Racing match being cancelled) so it will be a well-deserved rest.

“We've already started plotting out our approach to the Leicester match, so we'll come back in on Monday week and get ourselves ready for that trip.”

With some five Saints now heading away from Northampton on international duty, Boyd is looking forward to seeing the likes of Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and try-scorer Hutchinson on the international stage. 

On the 26-year-old centre, Boyd said: “Hutch's attacking game, in particular, has been really good the last few weeks. He's still working on his defensive game but he's starting to find some nice form.

“It'll be interesting to see if he gets picked in the Scottish team next weekend. If he doesn't, hopefully he'll come back to us for the Tigers match.

And after Biggar was announced as Wales’ captain ahead of the campaign, Boyd is relishing the possibility that Northampton the fly-half could go head-to-head with fellow Saint Lawes if the flanker was to be handed the captain’s armband by Eddie Jones.

Boyd added: “It will be a very proud moment for the Club to see Dan captain Wales for the first time, and it will also be very honourable for us if – when England and Wales play each other in a few weeks’ time – Dan and Courtney [Lawes] lead out the two teams.

“You know when you sign someone like Dan that's he's always going to have to go away for Six Nations or Autumn duty, but he continues to be the ultimate professional for us.”

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