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SAINTS 53 GLOUCESTER 6 Burrell pays tribute to pre-season work

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Although Gloucester had their moments, they were restricted to a small number of long-range penalty attempts, international half-back pairing James Hook and Greig Laidlaw landing a three-pointer apiece.

While the Cherry and Whites may get written off as under-performing by supporters or the media, in truth they were not allowed to even get into first gear by the Saints’ suffocating and physical defence.

One Samu Manoa hit on Billy Twelvetrees will make the highlights reel, but there were similar efforts going in across the paddock.

And this rearguard effort was rewarded when the players got the ball in their hands.

At times the team was irrepressible, wave after wave of attack breaking through the Gloucester line, with offloads finding the supporting players and the running lines putting the Saints onto the front foot repeatedly.

Eight tries were just reward, with George North going over for a hat trick, Jon Fisher marking his debut with a second-half score, Kahn Fotuali’i nipping around the blindside, and George Pisi latching onto a Stephen Myler chip to go in between the uprights.

Burrell himself also got on the score board twice, and he was full of praise for the all-round work done by his team mates.

“It was a fantastic effort tonight,” the England man told SaintsTV. “The boys really dug in, which is testament to the hard work put in by the conditioning staff. We looked fit and fast, and to do that in the first game of the season - in front of a home crowd of 13-and-a-half thousand - is fantastic and a great way to start the season.”

Gloucester came to the Gardens with five of their summer signings in their starting line-up, including British and Irish Lions Richard Hibbard and James Hook. In contrast, Saints fielded just one new face in the squad, Fisher having put pen to paper after impressing in pre-season, and Burrell said that this familiarity played its part in the win.

“We are a very cohesive unit,” he added. “We demand high standards of each other, and know each other really well.

“As you saw tonight, when players made a break they had other players flooding through the line. We know exactly what each player’s about, and it shows when it comes to games like this.”

Saints now have two weeks on the road, starting with next Sunday’s Aviva Premiership Round 2 trip to Wasps. And despite the eye-catching performance Burrell insists that no one at the club will be taking anything for granted at Adams Park.

“If we went into every game thinking we were going to get scores like this then it’s very easy to get carried away and get caught on the back foot,” he said. “Wasps are a very dangerous side. They’ve recruited very well in the summer and have one of the most dangerous back lines out there.

“We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough team.”

You can catch up with the minute-by-minute report of how the Saints beat Gloucester in the Saints Live archive by CLICKING HERE.

And tickets are available for the Saints’ next two home Aviva Premiership matches, against Bath on September 27th and Sale on October 11th. CLICK HERE to order 24/7, using Print@Home to beat the match day queues and save the admin fees!

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