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Saints 66 – 10 Warriors: Skosan’s debut hat-trick sends Saints second

Courtnall Skosan’s debut hat-trick, plus braces from Alex Mitchell and Tommy Freeman, saw Northampton Saints surge to a remarkable ten-try Gallagher Premiership victory over Worcester Warriors.

The hosts bagged five tries in each half with the milestone men – Dan Biggar (50th Club appearance), Mitchell (50th Premiership appearance), and Skosan (Saints debut) – all getting on the scoresheet as Northampton sealed the bonus point inside 29 minutes.

Api Ratuniyarawa and Rory Hutchinson both also added tries before the interval, while Skosan ran riot in the second 40 with two more scores added to Freeman’s double and another for man-of-the-match Alex Mitchell.

The 66-10 victory was Saints’ fourth win in five matches to kick off the new Premiership campaign, and with Chris Boyd’s side now sitting second in the standings, a mouthwatering clash with top-of-the-table Leicester Tigers awaits at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens next weekend.

Northampton opened their account in the eighth minute after a bright start, as Fraser Dingwall sent a smart grubber into the corner, and following a penalty against Worcester at the lineout, and quick tap-and-go from Biggar saw the fly-half drive over the line and score.

The hosts were briefly pegged back as Hutchinson’s clearance was charged down by Will Chudley, who gathered the loose ball to score with Fin Smith landing the conversion to put Warriors briefly into the lead at 5-7.

But that was a brief blip for Saints, whose dominance paid off again on 14 minutes with a move straight off the training ground; Hutchinson’s deft offload found Mitchell who darted through a gap to score to the left of the posts.

Worcester’s Smith cut the gap to two points with an 18th-minute penalty, but shortly after Northampton were over the whitewash again as Dingwall and Hutchinson punched holes, before Mitchell turned down the blindside and fizzed a pass to Ratuniyarawa who cut a great line to score.

And the men in Black, Green and Gold ripped through Warriors again in the 28th minute. Off a scrum in midfield, Biggar took the ball flat to the line before Hutchinson’s grubber was hacked through by Freeman for onrushing debutant Skosan to scoop up the ball and score.

There was still time before the break for a 60-metre dash to score from Hutchinson after intercepting a loose pass, and Biggar nailed four of five conversions to take the scoreline to 33-10 at half-time.

Unfortunately for the visitors, it was more one-way traffic in the second 40 as first Skosan showed off his incredible finishing ability with a brilliant dive into the corner, getting the ball down before he was dragged into touch.

Next Freeman got in on the act, but the try was all about Dingwall’s slaloming run through Worcester’s defenders before the centre selflessly offloaded to the 20-year-old to dive over.

Frank Lomani entered the fray off the bench and immediately gave Northampton plenty of tempo, with Skosan capping off a dream debut with his third try of the night – Worcester were stretched and Hutchinson whipped it wide for the Springbok wing to dive into the corner.

Mitchell (now playing on the wing) intercepted Francois Venter and raced home for his second try of the night, and while replacement lock Alex Coles saw his outrageous late breakaway try chalked off, Freeman rounded off the scoring with one minute left on the clock.

The Derby now looms for Northampton next weekend, with Leicester Tigers coming to the Gardens for an East Midlands showdown on Saturday 30 October.

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