A mix of youth and experience in the Northampton Saints team was too much for Cambridge RFC as the men in Black, Green and Gold registered their first win of the season in Round Two of the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Toby Thame and Henry Pollock both bagged a brace of tries along with one each from Tom Seabrook, Archie McParland, Will Glister and George Hendy to give the home side a 55-5 victory at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. Eli Caven scored the Championship side’s only points with a late try.
Saints scored the first points of the afternoon through the boot of James Grayson, and then from restart, England international Tommy Freeman scythed through the Cambridge defence and made it up to the 22 before passing outside to debutant Seabrook who scored under the posts. Grayson added the extras and Saints were ten points up after five minutes.
Two minutes later and Pollock was over the whitewash. Good interplay from Hendy and Thame got Saints into the 22 and when the ball went left it ended in the hands of Pollock to score. Grayson again added the extras and Saints had raced into a 17-0 lead inside ten minutes.
The next period belonged to the away side. Numerous times Cambridge found themselves close to the line but couldn’t find the killer pass to cross the whitewash as Saints defended resolutely.
Saints’ third try came after Pollock made a turnover inside the Cambridge 22 and after a period of pressure applied by the forwards, Seabrook fed Thame to crash over in the right corner.
It didn’t take the 19-year-old long before he scored his second and Saints’ bonus-point sealing try. Curtis Langdon made a half break from the kick-off, he offloaded to Tom Lockett who in-turn passed to Hendy and made it into the Cambridge half before popping outside to Thame who finished off the move to put Saints 29-0 ahead with seven minutes left of the half.
It wasn’t long before the men in Black, Gold and Green had their fifth. Glister broke through the defence deep inside his own half and made it to the halfway line before offloading to Grayson. The fly half was brought down just short of the line, but McParland was there to take the offload and score his first try for the club. Grayson added the conversion and Saints had built a commanding 36-0 half-time lead.
Eight minutes into the second 40 and Saints continued where they left off. From a scrum inside their own half, Tom Litchfield made ground and got up to the ten-metre line. The ball was then recycled and went through the hands of Grayson, Seabrook, Hendy for Glister to finish clinically.
It wasn’t long before Saints had their seventh of the day as Hendy intercepted a Cambridge pass from inside his own half and glided home untouched. Grayson added another two giving Saints a 48-0 lead with 24 minutes to play.
Pollock got his second try of the game on the hour mark after he ripped the ball from a Cambridge carrier before latching onto Cruse’s inside pop pass to swan dive over the line.
Cambridge didn’t lie down though and 14 minutes from time they were rewarded for their efforts. A loose ball in the Saints midfield was picked up by fly-half Steff James and he found Caven on the wing who had the pace to dive over the line.
It would prove to be the final score of the game in what was a resounding win for the men in Black, Green and Gold to keep their hopes of topping the group alive.
SAINTS: Hendy, Glister, Freeman, Thame, Seabrook, Grayson (c), McParland; E Waller, Langdon, Millar Mills, Atuanya, Lockett, Vukasinovic, Pollock, Moore-Aiono
Replacements: Cruse, A Waller, Davison, Cherry, Logan, Garside, Matavesi, Litchfield
CAMBRIDGE: Tarrant, Green, Hema, Hanks, Caven, James, Dabell; Elwood, Brownlie, Collins, Bretag Norris (c), Baxter, Sloot, Adams, Cardew
Replacements: Veness, Morley, Walker, Frost, Dawson, Duffin, Hoppe, Williams