Tom Vickers’ Northampton Saints v Wasps review and player ratings

ICING ON THE CAKE - Phil Dowson scored Saints' 11th try in the rout of Wasps (Pictures: Linda Dawson/James Phillips)
ICING ON THE CAKE - Phil Dowson scored Saints' 11th try in the rout of Wasps (Pictures: Linda Dawson/James Phillips)
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Well, that escalated quickly...

Saints seemed in a slumber after falling 13 points behind inside the first 15 minutes, but what happened next was simply stunning.

Eleven tries and a total of 74 points amassed in a victory that was the eighth biggest in Premiership history, and the largest since February, 2005.

Wasps wilted in the heat of the Franklin’s Gardens inferno and Jim Mallinder’s men had the perfect boost ahead of the serious matters that beckon in the next couple of weeks.

Make no mistake, what happened on Saturday could be so important in the context of this season.

If Saints can harness the confidence and belief garnered from this performance, they will be tough to stop in the pursuit of silverware.

But, if they allow themselves to get carried away - something that boss Jim Mallinder refused to do after the game - it could come back to bite them.

Mallinder was, typically, cool as a cucumber in his post-match press conference, allowing himself a smile and a joke with the media, but stressing the hard work starts now.

And he’s right.

No offence to Wasps, but you could have written their defensive tactics on the back of a cigarette packet.

They were all at sea from the moment George North danced his way through their porous rearguard, leaving two men in amber chewing on the Gardens grass.

It was a procession from that point, with each try greeted with an increased roar from the home fans.

They enjoyed this - and why not? It was a continuation of some sensational performances on home turf this season.

But, while they have racked up a humongous 391 points in 11 home Premiership games (an average of 35 points per outing), Saints know there is one team they have not beaten at the Gardens this season: Leicester.

Tigers loom large on the horizon this week and Northampton will need every ounce of self-assurance if they are to end their winless run against their rivals.

There will be constant reminders of the fact Saints have not secured a victory against the Tigers since September, 2010 in the build-up to the latest east midlands instalment.

But Mallinder’s men should not look any further back than the Saturday when they put 74 points past Wasps.

They should store that feelgood vibe and take it into the Tigers clash.

They have worked so hard to get a home semi-final in the month of May - their first play-off match at the Gardens since 2010.

Now they must make it pay.

How they rated...

BEN FODEN

Was at fault for Wasps’ second try, but bounced back brilliantly with an incisive display that was capped with a deserved second-half score... 8

KEN PISI

A real livewire, who was involved in numerous breaks and also wrote his name on the scoresheet in the second half... 8

JAMES WILSON

Gave his boss a selection headache for next week with a creative display, which also included a few kicks at goal... 8

LUTHER BURRELL

The big man was back to his bustling best, breaking the Wasps line on a few occasions and showing awareness to grab a try... 8

GEORGE NORTH

Had the previous week off and looked all the better for it, putting in a strong display that included two trademark scores... 8

STEPHEN MYLER

Grabbed his first try of the season thanks to a bit of brilliance from Foden and also kicked well in a fine all-round display... 8

LEE DICKSON

Like Foden, overcame an early error that cost Saints a try to put in a sparky showing that encompassed a couple of tries you’d associate with a forward... 8

ALEX WALLER

Played his part as Saints’ ate Wasps for dinner at the scrum, pummelling Dai Young’s men in a hugely physical effort... 7

MIKE HAYWOOD

A really impressive performance from the youngster, who did all of his usual jobs well and also provided a clever assist for Burrell’s try... 8

SALESI MA’AFU

Was on top at the scrum and really revelled in a day when he and his team-mates had the beating of their opposite numbers... 7

JAMES CRAIG

Has been a real success story in recent weeks and this was another towering performance from the beanpole lock... 8

CHRISTIAN DAY

Provides real wisdom when the chips are down and his influence could not be understated in Saints’ sensational comeback... 7

CALUM CLARK

Gave a performance full of all the usual qualities you’ve come to expect from him, injecting energy and passion in defence and attack... 8

PHIL DOWSON - CHRON STAR MAN

Bagged himself a brace in a big showing that is great news for Saints, who have great depth in the back row... 8

SAM DICKINSON

Powerhouse performance from the big No.8, who has grown into such an important player in the Saints team this season... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

TOM MERCEY (for Ma’afu 40)

Helped keep Saints on the front foot up foot, with Wasps simply melting under the boots of the home players... 7

TOM STEPHENSON (for Burrell 46)

A sharp cameo from the young centre, who grows in stature with every passing week and who capped his efforts with a try... 8

ALEX CORBISIERO (for Waller 53)

Made his first Saints appearance since October and looked like he’d never been away... 7

GEORGE PISI (for Myler 53)

Came on at a time when Saints were eyeing an avalanche of tries and added even more impetus with a strong showing... 7

KOREE BRITTON (for Haywood 60)

Made his Saints debut and didn’t look out of place, playing his part in a massive team effort... 7