Tom Vickers’ Saints view and ratings: Encouraging signs despite Tigers defeat

DERBY DESPAIR - defeat at Leicester was painful for Saints (Picture: Linda Dawson)
DERBY DESPAIR - defeat at Leicester was painful for Saints (Picture: Linda Dawson)

It could have been better, but it could easily have been worse for Saints at Leicester on Saturday, had George Ford found his shooting boots.

The Leicester fly-half had a bit of a howler as he missed a number of kicks which ensured the Tigers failed to deprive their rivals of a losing bonus point.

Tom Vickers staff photograph

Tom Vickers staff photograph

But that point, when you consider the amount of injuries they are carrying, was just reward for Saints, who battled bravely and stood tall after some criticism of their showing against Saracens seven days earlier.

It would have been easy for the team to buckle when they conceded a try early in the second half, which put Tigers ahead for the first time in the game. But they didn’t.

They simply came back stronger and, in the end, had Ryan Lamb not seen yellow and referee Greg Garner not made some contentious calls, they could have walked away with four points.

The fixture list will now read badly, with four defeats in the past five games in all competitions.

But the shoots of recovery were there in this performance and although the lack of attacking edge remains a slight worry, defensively, Saints have shown they’ve got plenty of steel.

They now just need the results to follow to restore belief and the return of a couple of players from injury would be a major boost.

Calum Clark and Jamie Elliott, neither of whom had played a game this season, showed their worth and their presence in the side can only be a positive thing.

It’s now just about building on the good points and ensuring the results start to go a different way to how they have in the past few weeks.

HOW THEY RATED

TOM MAY

Very steady showing at full-back, helping to ease Jim Mallinder’s worries in the seemingly cursed position. May used all his experience to keep Saints ticking...7

KEN PISI

Didn’t get any space to work with and was largely subdued when compared to recent weeks. A good learning experience for the Samoan, who, it must be remembered, is new to the Premiership...6

GEORGE PISI

Showed his dancing feet on a couple of occasions, with nice footwork to create space, but was stifled by the Tigers midfield... 6

DOM WALDOUCK

Is a very steady player but couldn’t provide the spark Saints so desperately needed in the midfield... 6

JAMIE ELLIOTT

A good return from the young wing, but like the rest of the Saints backs he was unable to find a way through the resolute Tigers backline... 6

RYAN LAMB

Everything was going so well for the fly-half until his silly sin-binning four minutes from time. He had kicked well and managed the game efficiently but the late incident let Saints down... 6

MARTIN ROBERTS

A sharp display from the scrum-half, who hasn’t had much game time this season, with Lee Dickson in the driving seat at No.9. Staked his claim... 7

SOANE TONGA’UIHA

Part of a good forward effort from Saints and showed his intelligence at the breakdown on a couple of occasions to get his side moving forward... 7

MIKE HAYWOOD

Impressive display from the youngster, who could easily have crumbled in the intense Welford Road atmosphere. Did little wrong and will benefit from this experience... 7

BRIAN MUJATI

Looking like he’s getting back to the high standards expected of him and he was part of a Saints pack that more than held their own... 6

SAMU MANOA

A typically physical display from the lock, who threw himself in to every aspect of the east midlands derby... 6

MARK SORENSON

Made a couple of spills, one of which proved costly as the Tigers grabbed possession on the way to the game’s only try... 5

PHIL DOWSON

Saints were definitely better for having the England man back from international duty and he was a key cog in the defensive effort... 6

CALUM CLARK

A fine return from the flanker, who showed a mature head to help keep his side in the game. Saints will be delighted to have him back, and this was why... 8

GERRIT-JAN VAN VELZE

The South African is easing his way into the Saints team but was thrown in at the deep end in the derby. He competed well and is getting better, week by week... 6