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Boyd impressed with ‘glue player’ Skosan on debut

Chris Boyd believes Courtnall Skosan can become a vital cog in Northampton Saints’ machine this season after the South African wing enjoyed a dream debut on Friday.

The 30-year-old, capped 12 times by the Springboks, was one of Saints’ high-profile summer signings as he arrived at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens from Johannesburg’s Lions franchise.

Skosan stole the headlines on his first outing in Black, Green and Gold in a 66-10 triumph for the hosts over Worcester Warriors, bagging a hat-trick of tries in front of a jubilant home crowd.

After the game, Boyd admitted he’s long been an admirer of Skosan’s from his days coaching in Super Rugby, and Northampton’s Director of Rugby insists the flyer can become a key player for Saints this season.

“It was not a bad return from Courtnall – three from his first outing! He’s a good man, and the thing I’ve always liked about him is that he’s a glue player,” said Boyd.

“He’s not just a good finisher, he’s also good in the air, good going backwards, he works hard and he’s a good defender – so he’s not your blingy player, he’s a solid, good, decent rugby player, and I’ve always liked him.

“He’s a quality footballer – that’s why he’s played so many times for his country.

“Every team needs their glue, and every team needs their bling. The likes of Matt Proctor, Fraser Dingwall, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Wood and Teimana Harrison are really fantastic glue players.

“They’ll give you some bling every now and again, but they’re always in the thick of it and really hold everything together.”

The hosts notched up ten tries in total against Warriors, with Tommy Freeman (two), Alex Mitchell (two), Dan Biggar, Rory Hutchinson, and Api Ratuniyarawa all adding to Skosan’s treble – Saints recording their fastest-ever bonus-point in the Gallagher Premiership in the process after just 29 minutes.

Northampton ended Round 6 of league action in fourth place in the standings with four wins from five games so far (plus a bye weekend), but for Boyd it was the quality of his side’s performance that was the most promising takeaway from the win over Worcester, after being frustrated by some inconsistent play in recent weeks.

He said: “There was about 80 per cent of the game that I thought was pretty decent and 20 per cent that was horrible – and not a lot in-between.

“We just need to get rid of those little hiccups, like the five minutes before half-time, but for most of the game I thought we were pretty good for our money.”

Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby

“We knew if we hung on to the ball, went through our process and didn’t get impatient and try to stay in our system, then we’d get some opportunities.

“When you get an opportunity you’ve either got to work it or take it and most of the time we did both.

“It was a bit of a costly win because we got a few dings and had to play some guys out of position, but it was nice to be able to take some of our more senior and established players off, and get some of our youngsters on.

“We didn’t seem to miss a beat with those players coming on there so that’s good for our squad depth.”

On the horizon for Saints is an East Midlands Derby showdown against top-of-the-table Leicester Tigers next Saturday, with only single seats remaining for the clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

“We’re looking forward to hosting the Tigers next weekend, although no doubt it will be a very different game to the last one,” Boyd added.

“We’ve got a sold-out cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens to look forward to, but while we’ve had a reasonable amount of recent success against Leicester, they’ve found their DNA now and know what is working for them.

“Both sides will be affected by English players being away, so that will test our depth a little bit, especially considering we took a few knocks against Worcester.

“We’ll get out there and we’ll be trying our hardest for our home supporters, that’s for sure.”

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