Director of rugby Chris Boyd insisted Northampton Saints’ all-round performance was more important than the scoreline, after the men in Black, Green and Gold ran riot against Sale Sharks on Saturday.
The hosts put on an exhibition of free-flowing rugby, scoring nine tries to leapfrog their opponents in the Gallagher Premiership standings and give their points difference a healthy boost with a 67-17 triumph.
“We've had a reasonable month, but the big test for us was to come back into the Premiership which we know is a real battle.”Chris Boyd
The in-form Cobus Reinach scored a first-half double with Tom Wood also charging over, and Tom Collins secured the try bonus point before the break.
Saints then built on their 32-10 lead in the second-half with further scores from Ahsee Tuala, Taqele Naiyaravoro, George Furbank, Collins and Rory Hutchinson – but with just two tries conceded to boot, Boyd was adamant he was most impressed with the style of the victory.
“It was a pretty decent team performance,” he said. “If you would have said that was the score before the game, I certainly would have taken it – so we are very happy.
“Our game has just been bubbling away nicely. We have had a reasonable month outside the Premiership, but the big test for us was to come back into the league which we know is a real battle.
“It was the manner of the performance, rather than the score, that was most pleasing.
“When we played there, they butchered us at the breakdown. They are very impressive and make you work for everything, so that was a big focus for us.
“We wanted to make sure that we competed in that space and right across the board we did a good job.”
It was stand-in captain Wood’s first try of the season, with the 50-time England international wearing the No.8 jersey in place of the injured Teimana Harrison.
“We’re making better decisions as a group, though one swallow doesn’t make a summer.”Chris Boyd
And Boyd admits the way the 32-year-old back-row grafted his way back into contention after struggling with injury in pre-season has been extraordinary.
He added: “I thought Tom Wood was outstanding. When I came here, he had a major groin problem and he worked incredibly hard in pre-season and the start of the campaign to get that right.
“He was outstanding today along with quite a few others.
“We’re making better decisions as a group, and though one swallow doesn’t make a summer, I did think it was a pretty good performance.
“We have Bath next weekend. Like Sale they also beat us earlier in the season and we would like to have a crack at them next week.”