Dickens praises Tuala after dream debut

Ahsee Tuala is congratulated after scoring a try on his Saints debut against Wasps (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Ahsee Tuala is congratulated after scoring a try on his Saints debut against Wasps (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
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Assistant coach Alan Dickens hailed Ahsee Tuala after the Samoan full-back enjoyed a try-scoring debut in Saints’ 29-6 win against Wasps.

Tuala took just eight minutes to open his Northampton account, making the most of good work from Tom Stephenson to score in the corner.

Saints V Wasps. NNL-150702-173218009

Saints V Wasps. NNL-150702-173218009

The 25-year-old only arrived from Counties Manukau, the New Zealand ITM Cup outfit, eight days earlier, but did not look out of place at Franklin’s Gardens.

And there are signs that he will become a fans’ favourite after receiving a warm welcome from the Gardens faithful.

“Ace did brilliantly today considering he only arrived at the end of last week,” said Dickens.

“The reception he got was really pleasing. He collected the kick-off and banged it 50 metres and the crowd appreciated that.

“I thought he got off to a good start and he looks good.

“He’s comfortable on the ball and he’s hard to stop.”

Saints needed to beat Wasps and hope that Leicester did them a favour in Cardiff if they were to progress to the LV= Cup semi-finals.

And the ideal scenario came to fruition, with Jim Mallinder’s men now facing an away semi-final at Saracens, Exeter - those two face each other on Sunday - or Leicester.

“Jim spoke beforehand and said we couldn’t do anything about the outcome of the other game, so all we were focusing on was our own performance,” said Dickens.

“We needed to win after the defeat to Leicester last weekend and we’ll worry about the semi-final when we get to that week.

“We’ve got some important games coming up in the Premiership and that’s what we’ll focus on now.”