Tom Vickers’ Treviso versus Northampton Saints view and player ratings

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder
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Jim Mallinder kept the faith - and was repaid in style at Stadio di Monigo.

Rather than chopping and changing for the trip to Treviso, the director of rugby kept his powder dry, leaving a host of star names on the bench.

And in doing so, he gave a glowing endorsement to the men he named in the first 15.

Men who have served Saints so well during an autumn international period that produced four wins from five games.

A message was sent to Mike Haywood, to Tom Stephenson and to others that if you produce the goods you will keep the shirt.

And for player morale and freshness it is an approach that pays huge dividends - as long as you keep winning.

That was what Saints did in front of their army of travelling fans at Stadio di Monigo, which, from the main stand, resembled a cross between the Kassam Stadium and The Rec.

It was a picturesque venue and, at times, a picture book performance from Mallinder’s trusted men, who scored some impressive tries in their six-effort haul.

It wasn’t always as pretty as a Venice postcard, as the forwards ground Treviso down before the backs grabbed their moment in the spotlight.

But it was hugely effective from a Saints team that desperately needed the five points in their bid to progress from Champions Cup Pool 5.

And they desperately needed to produce a performance their fans could be proud of.

The number of Northamptonians in the ground was sizeable, with around a third of the crowd donning green, black and gold.

It was a tremendous effort, no doubt helped by the fact this is a nice pre-Christmas destination.

But the fans who were in attendance certainly made themselves heard, with strains of “Come on you Saints” ringing around the ground at the conclusion of the match.

For the Saints coaching staff, it was music to the ears as they headed down the steps to make a final assessment of events.

They won’t have been pleased with the concession of a couple of second-half scores, but may use that as a positive, with Treviso heading to the Gardens next weekend.

There are areas that can be worked on - and that will only fuel the fire ahead of the bid to pick up another five points on home turf.

But for now, Mallinder and his men can head back home with smiles of satisfaction on their faces and the prize they came for tucked in their suitcases.

How they rated...

BEN FODEN

Got himself on the scoresheet and although some of his kicking was a bit wayward at times, when he held onto the ball he was hugely effective... 7

KEN PISI

Tried his best to make things happen, but there wasn’t too much action on his wing as the forwards shoved it up their jumpers for long spells... 6

TOM STEPHENSON

Deceptively strong, the young centre almost found his way to the line with a powerful run, but his copybook was blotted with a pass that was intercepted for a Treviso try... 6

LUTHER BURRELL - CHRON STAR MAN

The birthday boy didn’t stay on for the full 80 minutes, but the time he spent on the field was crucial to Saints as he scored one and superbly set one up... 8

JAMIE ELLIOTT

Was lively throughout, keeping Treviso on their toes, and his brilliant burst helped to create Burrell’s try... 7

STEPHEN MYLER

As assured as ever, the fly-half controlled the game well and, aside from a couple of efforts that hit the post, kicked well once again... 7

LEE DICKSON

Tried to get Saints on the front foot early on with a high-tempo passing game, and they eventually got into their stride... 6

ALEX WALLER

Part of a huge forward effort, the prop grabbed a try off the back of a maul and, overall, enjoyed his afternoon... 7

MIKE HAYWOOD

His form ensured Dylan Hartley didn’t need to be thrown back in, and Jim Mallinder was right to keep the faith with the young hooker, who was impressive again... 7

GARETH DENMAN

Came in at late notice after Salesi Ma’afu was ruled out with a back problem and did a sterling job in a big pack performance... 7

SAM DICKINSON

Such an effective presence, the versatile forward, who usually plays No.8, slotted into the second row superbly and put in a towering display... 7

CHRISTIAN DAY

Made some important hits that pushed Treviso back and was important in marshalling a forward effort that won the day... 7

CALUM CLARK

Another energetic performance from the flanker, who relishes these important games and whose work is hugely appreciated by his team-mates... 7

PHIL DOWSON

Continued to captain the side with Hartley on the bench and did a fine job once again, putting a gargantuan display that carried his team forward... 8

SAMU MANOA

Got the ball rolling with an early try and continued to produce the power that Treviso struggled to live with at times... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

KAHN FOTUALI’I (for Dickson 51)

The game was all but won by the time the skilful Samoan came on, but he did his best to ensure Saints maintained their momentum... 6

ETHAN WALLER (for A Waller 54)

A steady presence in the scrum, the young prop didn’t let his team down in a decent cameo appearance... 6

TOM MERCEY (for Denman 54)

Came onto the bench late, but was given a chance to get some minutes under his belt and performed well... 6

TOM WOOD (for Clark 54)

Was keen to get back in club action and produced a typically strong display as he helped Saints fight a determined home side... 6

GEORGE PISI (for Burrell 56)

Marked his return from injury with a try and will be delighted to be back after the hamstring injury sustained in the defeat at Racing Metro in October... 7