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Saints win Sevens derby, but Sharks and Welsh prove too strong

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

GAME 1 SAINTS 26-24 LEICESTER

The respective youngsters from each end of the Welford Road produced a cracking match which went right down to the wire.


Saints drew first blood. Although Leicester looked to have been pushing the Saints further back into their own territory the men in green stayed patient, put the ball through the hands and with a neat off-load Darrell Dyer put Anders Mogensen into the clear. There was plenty of work still to do, however, but the winger showed a clean pair of heels to sprint clear of the three covering defenders to score the try.


Ryan Glynn's conversion made it the perfect opening, but with Tigers scoring though Matt Cornwell and Alex Lewington Saints soon found themselves behind.


A penalty awarded to the Tigers put them in prime position to score again. But Tom Stephenson's smart play won the ball back, Glynn's show and go wrong-footed the defence and when Mogensen popped up on the scrum-half's shoulder he had a stroll to the line. Stephenson's defence was rewarded with a try of his own right which gave Saints a 19-12 half-time lead.


The topsy-turvey scoring continued after the break with Tom Bellak and Tom Hudson putting Tigers back in front. But just when Leicester were pushing for the clinching score they conceded a penalty and Saints went 100 metres to score through Jack Allcock. That tied things up and it fell to Glynn to convert and grab a win from the jaws of defeat.


Starters - Dyer, Stephenson, Glynn, Woolford, Hooley, Day, Mogensen

Reps - Allcock, Collins, Packman


Scorers - Tries: Mogensen (2), Stephenson, Allcock; Cons: Glynn (3)


GAME 2 SAINTS 7-33 LONDON WELSH


After having had such a thrilling finish in their first game, Saints came back down to earth with a bit of a bump in Game 2.


London Welsh came to Edgeley Park with a squad packed with international Sevens experience, and their prowess showed from the off. Not only were they comfortable with the ball in hand, even when going backwards, but they also had the much needed knack of being able to create an overlap when they needed it.


Deft handling was consolidated by powerful running and intelligent angles, and by half-time Welsh were leading 17-0 thanks to tries from Iolo Evans, Aaron Myers and Chris Banfield.


Ed Tellwright and Tom Rees added to the scoreline after the break, and while Alex Woolford got Saints on the board it was temporary respite in the one-way traffic, with Ben Seru wrapping things up for the men in red.


Starters - Waller, Allcock, Collins, Glynn, Wootton, Hooley, Day

Reps - Dyer, Stephenson, Woolford, Mogensen


Scorers - Tries: Woolford; Cons: Glynn


GAME 3 SAINTS 14-36 SALE


Following London Welsh's demolition of Leicester and the confirmation of a place in the JP Morgan 7s finals that came with it, the final match of the night between the Saints and hosts Sale was a winner-takes-all contest.


The teams came into the match tied on five league points, with the Sharks having a superior points difference, meaning that nothing less than a win would do for Saints.


But the Sharks had the partisan crowd cheering early with a Charlie Amesbury try. Saints had held out Johnny Leota's drive for the line well but were powerless to stop speedster Amesbury when he broke from long range.


However Tom Stephenson powered his way over, and with Ryan Glynn continuing his good form with the boot Saints went ahead. But as with the first game the lead was short-lived, Tom Brady scoring between the sticks.


That took Sale's half-time lead to 19-7, but while Saints reduced the margin by seven thanks to Alex Day's try and Glynn's second conversion two quick scores from the Sharks put the result beyond a doubt.


Will Hafu's pace took him over for a try in each corner, and while neither conversion was successful with four minutes left and a 29-14 deficit Saints had a mountain to climb.


Leota made amends for his earlier lapse by running in try number six, and that was that!


Starters - Dyer, Collins, Stephenson, Glynn, Woolford, Day, Mogensen

Reps - Wootton, Allcock, Hooley, Packman


Scorers - Tries: Stephenson, Day; Cons: Glynn (2)