Tom Vickers’ Scarlets v Saints view and player ratings

Scarlets get to grips with Phil Dowson during Friday night's LV= Cup clash at Parc y Scarlets (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Scarlets get to grips with Phil Dowson during Friday night's LV= Cup clash at Parc y Scarlets (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

0
Have your say

Twickenham, it was not.

Eighty-thousand people, there were not.

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Will Hooley. NNL-140811-015949009

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Will Hooley. NNL-140811-015949009

The All Blacks, they were not.

But all of that appeared to matter little to the big names who graced Saints’ bench at Parc y Scarlets on Friday night.

Instead, Lee Dickson and Calum Clark, who had been released by England on Tuesday, proceeded to help their club side past Scarlets in the LV= Cup.

It wasn’t a fixture that possessed the glamour of an autumn international at HQ, but it was another glowing example of the class Dickson and Clark possess.

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Ethan Waller. NNL-140811-015959009

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Ethan Waller. NNL-140811-015959009

It also illustrated the importance of Ben Foden. Of Alex Waller. Of Salesi Ma’afu.

And, overall, of having a replacements list that can propel you across the finish line.

But it would be wrong to solely focus on the household names.

Because there are others who look on their way to following in the footsteps of their established team-mates.

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Ethan Waller. NNL-140811-020318009

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Ethan Waller. NNL-140811-020318009

While Dickson and Clark showed real drive in bouncing back from their England omission, others demonstrated similar qualities.

Young wing Howard Packman was one, as he added a late try-saving tackle to an early score.

Packman chased back 70 metres to grab hold of Scarlets replacement Aaron Warren and drag him out of play.

The game was already won, another home try wouldn’t have made a difference.

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Saints after the final whistle. NNL-140811-020226009

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Saints after the final whistle. NNL-140811-020226009

But Packman didn’t care - or rather he really did - as he ensured there would be no late consolation for the home side.

There were other notable contributions.

Phil Dowson, who has had less rugby than he would like this season, led his team superbly, as ever.

The captain drove the team forward, time after time.

There was Will Hooley, who displayed real character to recover from a couple of missed kicks and eventually earn the man of the match award from the home announcer.

Overall, it was a night when Saints showed true grit.

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Jim Mallinder. NNL-140811-015928009

LV=Cup'Llanelli Scarlets V Saints.'Jim Mallinder. NNL-140811-015928009

They always knew they would have to dig in.

Even if there were only a few thousand people there.

Even if they were playing a team that possessed few star names.

Dickson, Clark and Co showed their professionalism.

They showed their dedication to the cause.

And they earned the round of applause they received from the small section of away fans, who, for travelling to Llanelli on a wet and windy night, deserved to see their team win.

All in all, Saints have done their town proud once again.

And it surely won’t be long before some of these men do the same for their country.

How they rated...

JAMES WILSON

A mixed night for the Kiwi on his return from injury as one skewed kick gave Scarlets the territory needed to score and other more accurate attempts gave Saints field position... 6

HOWARD PACKMAN - CHRON STAR MAN

Kept going to the end as he made a superb saving tackle in the dying embers of the game to add to his early try. A good night for the youngster... 8

TOM STEPHENSON

Made the quick break that set up Packman’s score and was a strong presence in the midfield... 7

DOM WALDOUCK

Stood tall against a determined Scarlets side and was always trying to gain ground for his team with typically courageous running... 7

TOM COLLINS

Didn’t get anywhere near the amount of possession and space he enjoyed against Newcastle on a night when Saints were forced to scrap it out... 6

WILL HOOLEY

Was an assured presence at 10 and got past a couple of missed kicks to deliver a steady display... 7

JOEL HODGSON

A couple of loose passes, but largely did okay as he desperately tried to get his team on the front foot in a nip and tuck opening 50 minutes... 6

ETHAN WALLER

Grew frustrated with some of the home side’s scrum tactics, but kept his composure to deliver another good performance... 7

ROSS MCMILLAN

Put himself where it hurt once again and had few problems with his set piece as he helped Saints keep control... 7

TOM MERCEY

Gave as good as he got in the scrum and seemed to enjoy his first start of the season as he got stuck in... 7

ALEX WOOLFORD

Started against Newcastle on the previous weekend and showed why he deserved to keep his place with another good performance... 7

CHRISTIAN DAY

Always a key figure and he kept things ticking over, with his guidance vital to second row partner Woolford... 7

PHIL DOWSON

Led his troops well and did his best to break down the Scarlets door with some big carries. A vital component of this side... 8

BEN NUTLEY

Has clearly been learning plenty from Dowson and is an important player to have on the pitch, with his energy and enthusiasm catching the eye... 7

JON FISHER

Only got two minutes on the field as he was forced off with a foot injury that was a source of huge frustration for the flanker... 6

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

TEIMANA HARRISON (for Fisher 2)

Thrown into the action early and took little time to settle, proceeding to put in an accomplished showing... 7

LEE DICKSON (for Hodgson 50)

Helped Saints turn up the heat on Scarlets with his slick passing and sheer ability shining through. Also helped himself to a try... 7

CALUM CLARK (for Harrison 51)

Like Dickson, had a point to prove after being released by England, and showed his desire by getting on the scoresheet in a strong cameo... 7