Tom Vickers’ Saints v Sale view and player ratings: Saints enjoy end-of-season Sale

ALL SMILES - the Saints fans enjoyed Saturday's demolition of Sale at Franklin's Gardens (Picture: Linda Dawson)
ALL SMILES - the Saints fans enjoyed Saturday's demolition of Sale at Franklin's Gardens (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Saints fans could have been forgiven for singing ‘can we play you every week?’ at the conclusion of Saturday’s evisceration of Sale Sharks.

Seven tries in the sun ensured it was the perfect final appearance of the season at Franklin’s Gardens for Jim Mallinder’s men.

And it also ensured they booked their place in the Premiership semi-finals for the fourth successive season.

Sale left the door wide open throughout the game and Saints waltzed through it numerous times.

It was the ideal scenario for Northampton, who knew they needed four points to secure their top-four spot.

Quite simply, they couldn’t have asked for better opponents.

Twice this season, Sale have given Saints the shot in the arm they needed.

Back in November, on a fog-ridden Friday night in Salford, the green, black and gold stormed to a three-try 27-16 win.

And on Saturday, things were even better for Saints, who saw their opponents succumb with barely a whimper.

It could have been a tough day for Northampton, with the pressure on to get a win and ensure they didn’t enter the final-day trip to Quins needing a result, but it wasn’t.

Of course, much tougher tests lie in wait with the clash at The Stoop followed a week later by the play-off semi-final, likely to be at Saracens or Leicester.

But with momentum building and the chance to rest and rotate on the final day of the regular season, don’t write Saints off just yet.

As Mallinder pointed out after the game - a chance is all they need.

Whether they can compete with the best, as they haven’t much of late, remains to be seen.

For now, though, it’s time for the Franklin’s Gardens faithful, who always had a lot to cheer at home this season, to savour what happened on Saturday.

A seven-try win against any team is something to enjoy and a play-off semi-final is something to look forward to.

From a Saints perspective, it’s just a shame Sale won’t be providing the opposition.

Tom’s ratings...

BEN FODEN

Revelled in the dominance Saints had, constantly enjoying front-foot ball and providing a number of telling surges from full-back... 8

KEN PISI

Hugely energetic and showed real determination to win the ball back for his side. Contributed massively to the first try... 7

TOM MAY

Neat grubber kick for Luther Burrell’s score and the experienced centre has really shown his worth to Saints in recent weeks. A good final performance at Franklin’s Gardens... 7

LUTHER BURRELL

Another performance packed full of power and pace. Showed good anticipation to score a try, his sixth in seven Premiership starts this season... 8

JAMIE ELLIOTT

Took his personal tally to seven tries in his past six games with two more good finishes, which will keep his confidence high ahead of the play-offs... 8

STEPHEN MYLER

Showed his creativity during the second half as the game continued to open up and revelled in the possession his side had... 7

LEE DICKSON

Really sharp showing, which included a number of rapid breaks that prized open the Sale backline. Fine performance from the scrum-half, who deserved his try... 9

SOANE TONGA’UIHA

His final performance at Franklin’s Gardens was an extremely happy one as the Tongan dominated in the scrum and enjoyed a big win... 8

DYLAN HARTLEY

Is in great form at the moment and even tried a couple of showboat passes as Saints ran riot... 8

BRIAN MUJATI

Enjoyed the perfect send-off with cries of ‘Mooj’ ringing around the Gardens as the prop helped his side claim an emhpatic win... 7

COURTNEY LAWES

Was an immense presence throughout, blasting holes in the Sale backline and causing real disruption in the lineout... 9

CHRISTIAN DAY

Unlucky to be forced off early with concussion, and was enjoying his day before injury struck against his former side... 7

TOM WOOD

Got himself on the scoresheet and made plenty of yards as the Saints pack got on top and stayed there... 8

PHIL DOWSON

Solid showing from the dependable back row, who always puts in a good shift and ensures Saints stay switched on throughout... 7

GJ VAN VELZE

One moment of magic from the No.8, who found touch with a kick any fly-half would be proud of. Overall, a good performance... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

SAMU MANOA (for Day 23)

Was brought on earlier than planned due to an injury to Christian Day, but the big American is a great man to have in reserve and made a huge impact... 8

ALEX WALLER (for Tonga’uiha 54)

Kept Saints on top up front and produced a steady showing as they stepped things up late on... 6

CALUM CLARK (for Dowson 54)

Upped the intensity at the breakdown and looks to be getting back to full fitness at just the right time... 7

JAMES WILSON (for May 55)

Bagged two tries with some clever movement against a weary Sale defence and looks the part at centre... 8

MIKE HAYWOOD (for Hartley 57)

Entered proceedings with Saints firmly in control and the youngster will have enjoyed getting some minutes under his belt after a recent injury lay-off... 6

MARTIN ROBERTS (for Dickson 60)

Helped keep the tempo high as Saints fizzed the ball about and stepped on the gas to embarrass Sale... 7