Hutchinson hailed by two-try Saints team-mate Collins

Rory Hutchinson was in fine form for Saints on Friday night
Rory Hutchinson was in fine form for Saints on Friday night

Tom Collins has heaped praise on 'outstanding' Saints playmaker Rory Hutchinson.

Hutchinson pulled the strings in classy fashion as his side secured a superb 29-15 Gallagher Premiership win at local rivals Leicester Tigers on Friday night.

The centre, who was named Premiership player of the month for February and recently signed a new Saints deal, created a plethora of opportunities for his fellow backs.

And Collins profited, scoring twice in a crucial Saints win at Welford Road.

"Hutch has been outstanding for us all year and he was outstanding on Friday," Collins said.

"He's a completely different player to Manu (Tuilagi), who runs hard, runs over people.

"Hutch is aware, he's a great ball player, he does a job and having him in the team gives you the space you want out wide."

Hutchinson, like Collins, came through the Saints Academy.

And you could see how much last Friday's win meant to them.

"It's definitely huge for us," Collins said.

"I've grown up watching these matches, gone to Franklin's Gardens and sat in the stadium.

"It's a great feeling.

"The lads have done well and I was just lucky to be on the end of some of those moves."

Saints played a slick game, while Leicester struggled to create openings as they fell 29-3 behind before eventually grabbing a couple of late tries.

And Collins added: "Obviously going to Welford Road, it's always going to be a tough challenge.

"You know the physicality is going to be there but you just never know how the game's going to go.

"We've got a completely different game to them. We focus on tempo and they're the complete opposite with physicality and looking after the ball.

"We didn't know how it was going to go but the first half was good for us, we got some momentum and I just wish we could have pushed on and got that bonus point.

"We focused on it all week that if our forwards do their job up front, we were going to have space.

"In the first half we did our job really well, but in the second half we sort of let ourselves down a little bit.

"We went into our shell and ended up defending quite a lot.

"We were flying at half-time and it was just frustrating that we couldn't build on that.

"But at the moment we're confident, we feel good and we're winning."