Hopley hails the patience of Saints

Saints found the right balance at Kingston Park (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Saints found the right balance at Kingston Park (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Academy coach Mark Hopley hailed the patience of Saints after they secured an Anglo-Welsh Cup win at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Tries from Academy products Tom Collins and Rory Hutchinson, allied with 14 points from another Northampton graduate, Sam Olver, secured a hard-fought 24-16 success.

It was a performance packed with character from Saints, who blended youth with experience.

And for players who have had to bide their time in the Wanderers during the formative stages of this campaign, it was a chance to show what they are made of.

“We’re very pleased,” Hopley said. “There were a lot of players out there who have been patient and waited a long time for their opportunity.

“It was fantastic to see them win out there and great to see them getting some experience in a good victory away from home.

“You saw in our defence at the end we were a bit nervy, but in terms of our work rate and desire to get back and scramble - those are things we look for in players - we had that in abundance.

“For me personally, it was really pleasing to see.”

With the young guns displaying their grit and determination, the senior members of the squad were able to steer the team to victory.

The likes of captain Christian Day, flanker Jamie Gibson and centre Luther Burrell all put in important performances.

And Hopley said: “Those senior players stepped up really well today.

“It was brilliant to see Christian Day back out and leading from the front.

“Jamie Gibson took a lot of pressure off us in terms of his defensive lineout work along with Daisy (Day).

“And in the midfield, having Luther Burrell there to help those younger guys around him was really positive as well. It was great to see him back on the pitch.”