Cato scores twice as Saints see off Moseley

TRY GUY - Noah Cato scored twice against Moseley at Franklin's Gardens
TRY GUY - Noah Cato scored twice against Moseley at Franklin's Gardens

NOAH CATO scored two tries as Saints continued their preparations for the new season with a 35-22 win over Moseley at Franklin’s Gardens on Thursday night.

Cato, one of a host of fringe players to be given a run out as boss Jim Mallinder named a shadow side, dotted down twice in the first half to see off the Championship outfit.

Scrum-half Martin Roberts, 18-year-old wing Tom Collins and new boy Luther Burrell also got on the scoresheet as Saints made it two wins from three friendly games so far.

The squad now head to Edinburgh to complete their pre-season campaign ahead of the Premiership opener at Gloucester next Saturday.

With the Friday night trip to Murrayfield in mind, Mallinder opted to name a squad made up of players who needed some game time ahead of the start of competitive action.

Trialist Rhys Oakley was handed another chance to impress after coming off the bench to good effect against Leinster on Saturday.

He was joined in the Saints line-up by the likes of Stephen Myler and James Wilson, who are also in the squad to face Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

It wasn’t just the men in green, black and gold Mallinder would have been keeping an eye on, though, as Saints’ dual-registered trio Alex Day, Ethan Waller and Anders Mogensen were in action for Moseley.

Northampton dominated the early stages and some relentless pressure caused Moseley No.7 Ben Pons to offend and he was sent to the sin bin.

The home side took advantage soon after as James Wilson’s superb offload unleashed Cato, who cut through the Moseley defence like a knife through butter.

Myler converted before fly-half Glyn Hughes wasted the chance to peg his former side back immediately, missing an ambitious penalty attempt.

Hughes then had a second bite at the cherry from an almost identical position and didn’t miss out, striking the ball through the posts to bring his side back within four points.

Moseley showed their teeth for the first time on 27 minutes as full-back Oliver Thomas made a break and the ball was eventually worked wide for centre Anthony Carter to score.

Hughes added the extras to put the side from England’s second tier 10-7 up, but the lead wasn’t to last long.

Cato, who was playing at full-back, scored his and Saints’ second try of the night to put them back in front and Myler made it 14-10 with a sweetly struck conversion.

Saints held that score into the break and started the second half as they did the first: on the front foot.

Wilson was replaced by another summer signing, Burrell, who immediately made a great pick-up as Saints surged forward and scored through a neat dive over the line from Roberts.

Myler shaved the inside of the post with his conversion to stretch the gap between the sides to 21-10.

But Moseley responded immediately as Thomas collected a pass from Simon Hunt and touched down, cutting the gap to six points.

Saints made a triple substitution with the Edinburgh clash 24 hours later in mind; Myler, Tom May and Mike Haywood were all replaced.

Will Hooley was one of three academy aces to come on and he was immediately into the action, kicking the extras after Burrell was on hand to score.

Hooley notched again soon after, converting after a try from Collins, who danced through the opposition defence to touch down.

Moseley still had some gas left in the tank, though, and after applying some concerted pressure, No.8 Ben Pienaar scooped up the five points on offer.

But there was no way back into the game for the visitors despite their spirited showing and Saints advance to Edinburgh having claimed a second win in as many games.

Saints: Cato, Collins, May, Wilson, Armstrong, Myler, Roberts; A Waller, Haywood, Mercey, Woolford, Hicks, Oakley, Nutley, Hopley.

Replacements: McMillan, Hobbs, Herriott, Warr, Dyer, Allcock, Glynn, Hooley, Burrell, Stephenson, Wootton.

Moseley: Thomas, Hunt, Carter, Hayter, Mogensen, Hughes, Day; Waller, Caves, Voisey, Powell, Lockley, Mason, Pons, Pienaar.

Replacements: Wilkes, Lawrence, Meddick, Robinson, Brown, Davies, Ryan, Mather, Robinson.

Attendance: 2,009