Tom Vickers’ Saints view and ratings: Mallinder’s men not at the races

WHAT HAPPENED THERE? - skipper Phil Dowson looks mystified following Saints' defeat at London Irish (Picture: Linda Dawson)
WHAT HAPPENED THERE? - skipper Phil Dowson looks mystified following Saints' defeat at London Irish (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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If all the talk leading up to the game at London Irish was about the amount of strength in depth in Saints’ squad, the majority of the talk after was about the lack of it.

While having 12 first-teamers out clearly played a big part in the 39-17 thrashing, the nature of the defeat was a cause for concern.

Players asked to fill in failed to adjust to the task, with the likes of Noah Cato, Mike Haywood and Vasily Artemyev, at full-back, struggling.

But individuals can’t be targeted as Saints were well beaten, man for man, against a rampant Irish side, who wanted it more than their opponents.

Jim Mallinder said his players had embarrassed themselves and it was good to see the boss give an honest and frank assessment of the hugely disappointing display.

Saints simply weren’t at the races – and no amount of injuries can be blamed for that.

While they struggled in areas where they are missing key players – notably at full-back and at hooker – the worry was how easily they were also beaten in other departments.

The usually strong scrum had an off-day and in the end it was all far too easy for determined Irish, who clinched a bonus point they would only have dreamed up before the game began.

Mallinder felt his side weren’t mentally prepared, so expect to see Saints players, whatever the line-up, full of fire and desire running out against Glasgow Warriors on Sunday.

Backlash, you say? The Scots have been warned...

TOM’S RATINGS

VASILY ARTEMYEV

Had a torrid time at full-back, with a horror moment gifting Irish the first try of the game... 4

KEN PISI

The ray of light on a gloomy day for Saints. Made one stunning surge in the second half and deservedly wrote his name on the scoresheet... 7

DOM WALDOUCK

Was quite subdued as opposite number Jonathan Joseph took all the post-match plaudits... 6

LUTHER BURRELL

The barrel-chested centre failed to have the sort of impact he had on games earlier this season... 5

NOAH CATO

Came in on the wing at late notice and never really posed a threat to the Irish defence... 5

STEPHEN MYLER

Didn’t have enough ball to dictate the game, and couldn’t take it by the scruff of the neck... 5

LEE DICKSON

Tried his best to get something going, but the response from his team-mates was less than encouraging... 6

SOANE TONGA’UIHA

Couldn’t exert his power in the scrum as Irish held their own, allowing them to give plenty of ball to their backs... 6

MIKE HAYWOOD

A baptism of fire in his first start of the season and it didn’t go as well as he’d have hoped. Some poor lineouts put his team in trouble...5

BRIAN MUJATI

Didn’t look 100 per cent after a couple of games on the bench and Saints can only hope he’s saving his best for Sunday...5

SAMU MANOA

The big American remained cool, but even a couple of his big hits went astray and it wasn’t his day... 6

MARK SORENSON

Not the first start of the season the Kiwi would have wanted and he will be desperate to prove his worth next time out... 5

COURTNEY LAWES

Did some good work but with his team-mates wilting, wasn’t able to have his usual huge influence on proceedings... 6

TOM WOOD

Quite a quiet one from the England man, who was unable to show his strength in the lineout as the put-ins weren’t the best... 5

PHIL DOWSON

Scored a second-half try but that was about as good as it got for the forward, who started at No.8 for the first time this season... 6

Replacements (who played 20 minutes or more)

RYAN LAMB (for Artemyev, 50)

Came on, pushing Myler to full-back, but the game was already lost and the fly-half did little to stem the tide... 5