The second round Anglo-Welsh Cup match against Dragons ended with a first win in six games for Saints as the home side ran out 41-7 winners at the Gardens. The bonus point victory sees Saints top pool three on six points with the competition resuming again in February 2018.
Saints, captained by second-row Sam Dickinson, opened the scoring with a neat try by wing Juan Pablo Estelles, his third in two games. The score was the product of an overthrown Dragons line-out just outside their own 22, which was seized upon by flanker Ben Nutley who offloaded so the ball could be carried down the line for Estelles to eventually touch down in the corner.
Saints were denied a second score with 11 mins of the first half remaining when a sweeping move started by scrum-half Cobus Reinach’s just inside the Dragons half was knocked-on just short of the visitors try line. In the end though Saints were rewarded with a second try just on the stroke of half time. A period of sustained pressure from the home side saw hooker Reece Marshall crash over from a few yards to score his first points for the club and increase Saints lead to 12-0.
A Stephen Myler penalty three minutes into the second half increased the score to 15-0 and soon after a quite spectacular individual try from wing Ken Pisi effectively ended the contest. The Samoan wing intercepted a loose Dragons pass just outside his 22 and sprinted the length of the field to cross the whitewash.
Dragons hit back after 53 minutes when a smart grubber kick from fly-half Arwel Robson was collected by centre Joe Thomas to get the visitors on the scoreboard.
After that it was one-way traffic for the home side. A fourth try of the evening to secure a bonus point was finished off by scrum-half Reinach after Saints made the most of a poor clearance kick from the visitors. Twenty minutes from the end back-row forward Tom Wood dived over for the fifth and scrum-half Alex Mitchell made it six just two minutes from time to make the score 41-7 and round off a convincing win.
Saints' scrum-half Reinach was voted man-of-the-match by the watching media.
The Anglo-Welsh Cup resumes in February 2018 when Saints play Sale Sharks and Harlequins for a chance to secure a place in the knock-out stages.
26mins SAINTS Try Estelles 5-0
39mins SAINTS Try Marshall Con Myler 12-0
43mins SAINTS Pen Myler 15-0
49mins SAINTS Try Pisi Con Myler 22-0
53mins DRAGONS Try Thomas Con Robson 22-7
58mins SAINTS Try Reinach Con Myler 29-7
60mins SAINTS Try Wood 34-7
78mins SAINTS TRY Mitchell Con Grayons 41-7
FULL TIME Saints 41 Dragons
SAINTS Mallinder; Estelles, Hutchinson, Stephenson, Pisi; Myler, Reinach; van Wyk, Marshall, Ford-Robsinson, Paterson, Dickinson, Wood, Nutley, Eadie
Subs - Haywood, Beesley, Hill, Moon, Harrison, Grayson, Foden
DRAGONS Goodchild; Rosser, Thomas, Howard, Hewitt; Robson, Davies; Garrett, Belcher, Fairbrother, Screech, Landman, Wainwright, Roach, Worthington
Subs - Ellis, Davies, Harris, Andrews, Greggains, Leonard, O'Brien, Warren