Northampton Saints’ 36-17 triumph over Wasps on Saturday saw Taqele Naiyaravoro deliver unquestionably his most impressive performance to date in a Black, Green and Gold jersey.
The mammoth 26-year-old was unleashed with devastating regularity at Franklin’s Gardens, leaving a trail of Wasps defenders scattered in his wake with almost every carry, and Saints’ director of rugby Chris Boyd purring after the match.
“My target hasn't changed from the day I came here. We try our best to win every game.”Chris Boyd, director of rugby
Naiyaravoro’s statistics from the clash tell the story; he made a whopping 183 metres from 17 carries, beating 12 defenders and making three offloads along the way, as well as scoring one try and assisting another.
And Boyd believes that success was the product of plenty of hard work from both the Fijian-born winger and his Northampton teammates to get him into the right areas on the pitch.
He said: “We battled to get him the ball in space more often; with big men teams tend to use them in those tight spaces, but they're actually the most effective when you can give them a bit of space around them to do their thing.
“We finally got the ball to him in the right areas, and he rewarded us with a good performance. Andrew Kellaway on the other wing got a bit of space too, we enabled them both to free their legs and away they went.
“Taqele has been trying really hard but we haven't been helping him, so we finally got that bit right I think on Saturday.
“My target hasn't changed from the day I came here. We try our best to win every game we can, and perform the best we can.
“We haven't burdened ourselves with an outcome target, we just want to play well each week and what will be will be.”
Boyd was impressed with several aspects of Saints’ game during the bonus-point win.
The hosts ran in five tries with Kellaway, Fraser Dingwall, Piers Francis, Naiyaravoro and Ollie Sleightholme crossing the whitewash to secure five vital Gallagher Premiership points.
And after three weeks of Premiership Rugby Cup action, Boyd combined a mixture of youth and experience in the squad with six players making their Premiership debuts.
Boyd said: “I'm certainly pleased to get five points at home and probably, for the first time this year, we're pleased with more parts of our game than we're not so that's progress.
“We got a significant number of things right and the pundits would say that’d probably our best performance.
“When you control your attacking game, you start controlling possession and territory, then you're in that position where you can dictate the game.
“Our source of ball was way better this week and the opportunities that we got, we were a bit more accurate in taking. That was really pleasing.
“We laid the gauntlet down for the younger players three weeks ago when we started the Premiership Rugby Cup. From the day I came here, I said to the senior players that I respect the history they’ve got within the Club, but I’ll pick the guys that are delivering performances.
“Right at the moment all those young fellas justify their selection and are worthy of it.”
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