They may have stepped up to the plate with some real flair during Saturday’s victory over Bristol Bears, but attack coach Sam Vesty insists Northampton Saints’ youngsters must focus on consistency with another fortnight of Premiership Rugby Cup skirmishes ahead.
The men in Black, Green and Gold triumphed 51-24 over the West Country outfit in front of a boisterous Franklin’s Gardens crowd in the first round of the brand new competition.
"We kept putting the pressure back on, and when our chances came we were very clinical."Sam Vesty, attack coach
Director of rugby Chris Boyd rang the changes ahead of the clash with 14 players coming into the matchday 23 squad.
Academy starlets James Grayson, Alex Mitchell and George Furbank all crossed the whitewash during the seven-try win, but Vesty was impressed with the side’s performances all over the park, with seven Saints making their Club debuts including two guest props in Ampthill's Karl Garside and Coventry's Jack Higgins.
Vesty said: “I thought the boys that needed to step up really did; when you're giving kids an opportunity they very rarely let you down.
“I thought Alex Mitchell and James Grayson managed the first-half really well. They kept putting the pressure back onto Bristol, and when our chances came we were very clinical with them.
“They both [Mitchell and Grayson] showed what they can do and the challenge for those two is going to be consistency at doing that and doing it under more pressure.
“Luther Burrell and Fraser Dingwall in the centres were very good, Alex Moon was excellent giving some go-forward in the pack and Ollie Sleightholme looks a very difficult man to go and tackle.
“George Furbank has been out for a long time and not played a lot of rugby, so it's good to see him back and organising really well.
“And Karl Garside's been training with us for quite a bit now, so he knows what he's trying to do.”
Next weekend sees Northampton make the short journey to Coventry to take on Wasps in the second round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Another victory for Saints would put them in the driving seat in Pool Three, with the top-ranked side guaranteed a place in the competition semi-finals, and Vesty is hoping for more of the same on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
He added: “I hope it's a sterner challenge. We’ll make a few changes, but it will be largely a similar squad.
“We're trying to give everyone that needs an opportunity an opportunity, but also regenerate the boys that have had some tough rugby under their belts.
“We’ll focus on putting our game on the pitch again, not looking to the opposition and just focusing on what we do – we did that well against Bristol.”
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