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Saints pre-season kicks-off with rout of Russia

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

New boys Samu Manoa and Cesar Sempere grabbed one each, while a penalty try and five other solo scorers completed the rout. To their credit, Russia crossed three times themselves in what was their first warm-up game for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.


The Saints' intentions were made clear early doors when Ryan Lamb sent a kickable penalty to the corner and after edging the Saints closer in the loose, the forwards had further chance to impose themselves at a penalty scrum. Two times Russia failed to live with the home power and after a third collapse referee Wayne Barnes had no option but to award the penalty try, one converted by Lamb.


If the Saints power was impressive, what followed from the Russians was equally so as they exposed their hosts with a first attack of the evening. Pace was put onto the ball and when a two-on-one emerged, Andrey Kuzin cruised past an isolated Anders Mogensen.


Saints went back on the offensive and when Martin Roberts was denied the chance to run a quick tap penalty, Mikhail Sidorov saw yellow and Lamb went to touch. Ominously for the visitors another power show was on the way and when a pile of bodies crashed over the line, Manoa emerged with the score to mark his first taste of action with the Saints.


Numbers were equalled when Sidorov was allowed back onto the field but it had little effect on a Saints move that swept forward from inside their own 22. Forwards and backs alike got their hands on the ball before Mogensen dazzled not one, but two Russia defenders with exuberant side steps that brought about a third Saints try.


Number four followed soon after, Manoa scooping up a low ball and galloping clear. Artemyev again showed his covering qualities, dragging down the big second row but the American had the presence of mind to offload to the supporting Dowson, whose stroll to the line was all too simple.


When a Russian pass went to ground with a chance opening, the Saints supporters seemed a little disappointed that Artemyev couldn't gather and another chance at points went astray when Klyuchnikov missed his second kick at goal.


Moments later however, Antonov crashed over from close range and some of the shine was taken off a good showing from the Saints' first-half selection as the break came.


The 15 that emerged for the second-half contained no less than four new Saints and it was one of those who made an immediate impact - Sempere blitzing the Russia defence to put a scorching finish on the Saints' fifth.


The quick start to the second-half however wasn't about to materialise into a drubbing for Russia. The game tightened up and it wasn't until the hour that a further chance was created. Another new boy Noah Cato showed his pace and while he couldn't shrug off the attentions of Artemyev with his ducking and weaving, the second skipper of the evening Calum Clark benefitted from the winger's work to go over after Ben Nutley's offload.


Again the Bears responded well and after Sergey Trishin fly-hacked a wayward Saints ball, Tom May dragged the replacement full back down without the ball. A second penalty try of the night was the call, reward for the Russians' hard work.


The final say of the night though would come from the hosts inside the final five minutes. First up, Brett Sharman and Paul Diggin provided the thrust that allowed Sempere to tee up Charlie Sadler, before Mark Sorenson was driven over from a lineout in added time.


Stephen Myler maintained his 100% record for the evening by converting both and the extras were the last points of a relatively worry free evening for the Saints.


Referee:

Wayne Barnes


Attendance:

6,227


Timeline:

10mins SAINTS Try Penalty Con Lamb 7-0

12mins RUS Try Kuzin 7-5

15mins RUS Yellow Sidorov

16mins SAINTS Try Manoa Con Lamb 14-5

21mins SAINTS Try Mogensen 19-5

24mins SAINTS Try Dowson Con Lamb 26-5

38mins RUS Miss pen Klyuchnikov

40mins RUS Try Antonov Con Klyuchnikov 26-12

HALF-TIME SAINTS 26 RUSSIA 12

41mins SAINTS Try Sempere Con Myler 33-12

62mins SAINTS Try Clark Con Myler 40-12

67mins RUS Try Penalty Con Klyuchnikov 40-19

76mins SAINTS Try Sadler Con Myler 47-19

80mins SAINTS Try Sorenson Con Myler 54-19

FULL-TIME SAINTS 54 RUSSIA 19