Jim Mallinder hailed the ‘energy and enthusiasm’ of his young guns as Saints got back to winning ways with an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final success at Sale.
Mallinder opted to make 12 changes from Saturday’s Aviva Premiership defeat to Leicester Tigers, with the likes of Ethan Waller,Tom Stephenson and Ben Nutley starting in Salford.
And the selection paid off as Saints surged into a 28-7 half-time lead before seeing the game out to record a 28-14 victory.
Flanker Nutley, who turns 22 on Monday, grabbed two tries, while fledgling prop Waller was named man of the match.
And the youth, combined with the experience of the likes of Sam Dickinson and Ben Foden, who both registered tries, got the job done to end a run of three successive defeats.
“I’m very pleased,” said Saints boss Mallinder. “It was a good first half and we learned a few lessons from two weeks ago when we lost here in the Premiership. We scored some good tries.
“In the second half, we faded away a little bit but we didn’t need to force the game. We were quite happy with the scoreline as it was.
“We’re delighted because it’s a tough place to come on a Thursday night in particular.
“We played a number of the younger lads and they were really good. They brought some really good energy and enthusiasm to the team.
“It’s good to get back to winning ways.
“Our mauling game was very good in scoring the tries we did, but just some of our play out of our half that’s let us down over the last few weeks was very good.
“It was really pleasing to see those aspects come off the training field.”
Saints were in cruise control during the second period as Sale, who scored through Henry Thomas and Viliami Fatiaki, saw their hopes of a comeback snuffed out.
And Mallinder’s men can now look forward to a European semi-final against Stade Francais or Harlequins, who play in Paris on Friday, at Franklin’s Gardens on April 25.