Northampton Saints 22 Wasps 38: Tom Vickers' review and player ratings

It's fair to say Saints will be glad to see the back of October.

Sunday, 29th October 2017, 3:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:38 am
Courtney Lawes couldn't help Saints claim the win on this occasion (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

It proved to be a barren month for Jim Mallinder's men as they lost all four games, picking up just one point in the process.They shipped an alarming 21 tries and have now slipped down the Aviva Premiership table, having been top, and are sitting at the bottom of Champions Cup Pool 2.The good work done during September simply wasn't mirrored against sides who took advantage of some defensive struggles.In truth, aside from the Gardens wins against Leicester and Bath, Saints have not impressed in their rearguard action.Even in victories against London Irish and Harlequins, there were soft tries for the opposition.And that is something that will have to be addressed if November is not to prove another tough time for the green, black and gold.Against Wasps on Saturday, Saints were beaten in both areas of the game.In attack, they were met with a white wall, with only fine work from Ben Foden unlocking the away side during the first half, as Ahsee Tuala scored.During the second period, there was only a late Harry Mallinder run and score to provide any sort of positive.And overall, Wasps deserved their win.They defended resiliently and took their chances when they came, springing from their own half on several occasions.Teams seem to score every time the Saints door opens even slightly and Mallinder's men must find a way to shut it in their faces in the weeks to come.The intensity they displayed against Leicester and Bath has to return and the clinical edge they showed in those games and at London Irish is also being sought.There is no doubt that October has been packed with onerous encounters.Gloucester is a tough place to win, everyone knows how good Saracens and Clermont Auvergne can be, and Wasps, who have now won their past five games against Saints, are starting to rediscover their razor-sharp ability after a sticky start.Things will get a bit easier, but a club with such high standards will be disappointed not to have claimed a couple of wins from October's testing fixtures.It is clear there is plenty of work to be done, and the club's all-conquering Wanderers will now get their chance to shine in the coming weeks.There are certainly first-team positions to be fought for, and Mallinder has asked his fringe men to show they are worthy of claiming them.The two Anglo-Welsh Cup weeks to come are a building process for key Premiership games against Worcester, Sale and Newcastle.And if Saints can end their losing streak, which currently stands at four matches, they will get the confidence boost they need to put things right in the big competitions.How they rated...AHSEE TUALAScored Saints' first try of the game and looked lively during the first half, but he won't be happy with his defending for Josh Bassett's score... 5BEN FODENProduced a moment of magic to create Tuala's try, but was later sin-binned and had a tricky time defensively... 5NAFI TUITAVAKEProduced a few flashy moments, but was never really able to make too many inroads against a resilient opposition... 5LUTHER BURRELLWas one of the few Saints players who managed to get some go-forward, making decent ground against a solid Wasps defence... 6TOM COLLINSTried his best to get in the game, but Wasps closed all avenues and he couldn't make much of an impact... 5PIERS FRANCISLooked sharp during the first half, putting himself about, and he kicked well until he was forced off with an ankle problem... 6NIC GROOMTried to get Saints going during the first half and they did lead on a couple of occasions, but saw less of the ball as the game went on... 5ALEX WALLERSaints had another difficult day in the scrum, but this man always puts in plenty of hard yards around the field... 6DYLAN HARTLEYThe captain put plenty of work in but he couldn't carry his team to victory as he headed off on England duty on the back of a defeat... 6KIERAN BROOKESCarried with real force on a few occasions, but Wasps stood tall and took on Saints in the tight, too... 6COURTNEY LAWESHas been so influential in most games this season and he was one of Saints' better players again here, but Wasps dealt with his carrying well... 7API RATUNIYARAWACan be such a threat with his offloading game, but didn't have enough support at times here and he was often stopped in his tracks... 5JAMIE GIBSONAlways a consistent performer and hard worker, but Wasps took control and never looked back... 5TOM WOODPlayed with purpose and determination, desperately trying to turn the tide, but Wasps were too strong... 6TEIMANA HARRISONCarried Saints forward on a few occasions with his trademark tenacity, but couldn't do too much damage in the end... 6Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)MICHAEL PATERSON (for Ratuniyarawa 57)Started the season really well but has not been in the team much of late and couldn't have much of a say in a game that was always getting away from Saints... 5CHRON STAR MAN - Guy Thompson (Wasps)

Wasps shut Tom Collins and his Saints team-mates down well

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tom Wood tried to take the fight to Wasps
Wasps have won on their past three visits to Franklin's Gardens
Harry Mallinder scored an eye-catching consolation try late on for Saints
Wasps shut Tom Collins and his Saints team-mates down well
Tom Wood tried to take the fight to Wasps
Wasps have won on their past three visits to Franklin's Gardens
Harry Mallinder scored an eye-catching consolation try late on for Saints