Boyd: Win at Sandy Park is a sign of Saints' growing maturity
Chris Boyd says Saints' superb 26-24 win at Exeter Chiefs is a sign of the team's growing maturity.
The black, green and gold won at Sandy Park for the second time in 2021, coming back from 14-0 and 24-17 down to defeat last season's Gallagher Premiership runners-up.
George Furbank's nerveless penalty two minutes from time helped to seal the win, as did a last-gasp defensive effort as Exeter attacked with the clock in the red.
It was a memorable day for the Saints supporters who made the trip to the west country.
And although Boyd didn't think it was a flawless showing, he was more than happy to pocket the victory, his side's second in as many Premiership matches this season.
"I'm very pleased with the four points and in patches I thought we played very well," Boyd said.
"But we gave them a 14-point lead and for us to peg that back and hold our nerve at the end and kick a couple of goals to sneak a win, I don't think this side would have been able to do that 18 months ago.
"It shows we're maturing, albeit against an Exeter side that is pretty depleted with injuries and availability so we know there's more to come.
"We are learning and a lot of the side is getting older so the average age is getting higher and the more times you go through this sort of situation, the more you learn and understand.
"It wasn't a perfect performance by any means but we're certainly happy with the four points here.
"We showed good guts for long periods of time."
Boyd made a big call with 15 minutes to go, taking off fly-half James Grayson, with Tommy Freeman coming on at 15 and Furbank slotting in at 10.
But it ultimately paid off as Furbank held his nerve from the tee.
"We probably would have got criticised for the decision if he (Furbank) had missed his kicks at the end, but in the 15 minutes previous to that change, he was doing a lot of the kicking through the middle of the field anyway," Boyd explained.
"There was a bit of risk in that, it's the same with Frank (Lomani) coming on for his debut at the end there because he's still just coming to terms with the way we play so there's risk in that, but they'll be better for the run-out."