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SAINTS 46 LONDON WELSH 0 Saints guarantee top spot in Aviva Premiership table

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The opening 10 minutes was all Saints, but it was a frustrating series of opening salvos for the capacity Gardens faithful.


Like a boxer seeking out his opponent’s weaknesses, Dylan Hartley and his men probed left, right and through the middle, mixing and matching the point and attack between powerful forward play and putting the ball through the hands.


But whatever was asked of them, Welsh had the answer, and even though Saints got to within sight of the whitewash on a number of occasions they could not find their way over it.


The dam eventually broke in the 13th minute, Lee Dickson’s awareness seeing him be awarded with a try after a powerful rolling maul had taken the pack up the touchline. Indeed while the build-up play had been promising, the award of the score itself came as something of a surprise, and brought perhaps the most muted response to a score heard at the Gardens this season.


There was no doubting the reaction to Stephen Myler’s peach of a conversion though, nor George Pisi’s tackle on Seb Jewell that brought to an end the Exiles’ only meaningful attack of the opening quarter.


Saints were also finding things difficult at the other end, but the second try, when it came, was a gem. Ken Pisi, whose hands had let him down just a couple of moments before, took Paul Rowley’s box kick superbly under pressure before making the most of a small gap to speed past a group of forwards.


The Samoan was stopped eventually, but Ahsee Tuala was there in support and his footwork and power took him over the whitewash.


The conceding of two tries meant that when Welsh’s opportunities came, they were intent on making the most of them, with repeated penalties being sent to the corner for the forwards to drive.


However the home pack was up to this challenge, first driving the Exiles back to win a scrum from which Dickson eventually cleared, and then winning a penalty at a breakdown as Welsh tried to go through some phases from the subsequent lineout.


The final highlight of the half came from a typically rambunctious run from Samu Manoa, which eventually brought the final points courtesy of Myler’s right boot.


The second half opened as the first had ended, Myler bisecting the uprights, but while it had taken 12 minutes to get the first try, it took just 60 more seconds to get their third. Again it was Dickson who finished it, but from massively different approach play.


Courtney Lawes won a throw against the head on the Tetley’s Stand side, with Tuala coming into the line at pace to add the extra man. Ken Pisi cruised up on the inside, drawing the final defender to create the space for Dickson to dive over.


Ken had another superb run a couple of minutes after that, the attack only ended by a desperate tackle that forced the winger’s foot into touch while attempting an offload to Manoa.


There was another good chance as the hour approached, too, Luther Burrell fumbling the ball while coming into the line at pace by the posts.


But there were no such problems from the England centre a couple of minutes later, crashing over after some powerful phase play in the visitors’ red zone, with Burrell doubling his personal tally five minutes after that in similar fashion.


By then Saints were a man up, too, Jack Gilding having seen yellow for an infringement on the deck, and when they upped their tempo it was not long before the defenders ran out and Jamie Elliott was over for try number six to round off the scoring.


TEAMS

SAINTS Tuala; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Elliott; Myler, L Dickson; A Waller, Hartley (capt), Denman, Lawes, C Day, Wood, Clark, Dickinson


Reps - Haywood, Corbisiero, Ma’afu, Dickinson, Fisher, Fotuali’i, Stephenson, Wilson


LONDON WELSH Jewell; Awcock, Reynolds, May (cat), Elder; Barkley, Rowley; Trivet, Britton, Cooper, West, Corker, Browne, Waters, Fonua


Reps - Morris, Aholelei, Gilding, Down, McNally, Liston, Lewis, Robinson


REFEREE Andrew Small


TIMELINE

12mins SAINTS Try Dickson Con Myler 7-0

27mins SAINTS Try Tuala Con Myler 14-0

40mins SAINTS Pen Myler 17-0

HALF-TIME SAINTS 17 L WELSH 0

43mins SAINTS Pen Myler 20-0

44mins SAINTS Try Dickson 25-0

61mins SAINTS Try Burrell Con Myler 32-0

63mins L WELSH Yellow card Gilding

66mins SAINTS Try Burrell Con Wilson 39-0

71mins SAINTS Try Elliott Con Wilson 46-0

FULL-TIME SAINTS 46 L WELSH 0