Magnificent seven for Saints as Welsh are beaten

ON THE CHARGE - Samu Manoa runs at the London Welsh defence (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
ON THE CHARGE - Samu Manoa runs at the London Welsh defence (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints sidestepped a potential banana skin with a comprehensive 43-14 success against lowly London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

Seven men got on the scoresheet for Jim Mallinder’s men, with Calum Clark, Stephen Myler, Samu Manoa, Jamie Elliott, Ben Foden, James Wilson and Ben Nutley all cashing in.

London Welsh v Northampton Saints. NNL-141130-153702009

London Welsh v Northampton Saints. NNL-141130-153702009

Myler added four conversions on a breezy afternoon in Oxford, which saw Welsh suffer their 13th defeat in as many games this season.

The home side did grab a couple of consolation scores in the second half, through Taione Vea and Nick Reynolds, but Saints’ simply had too much power and too much quality.

The victory put the champions back on top of the Aviva Premiership table and provided the perfect preparation for next weekend’s Champions Cup trip to Treviso.

Mallinder was able to take key men off early due to the comfortable cushion his men had built up and they cruised through to claim an easy success.

London Welsh v Northampton Saints. NNL-141130-153724009

London Welsh v Northampton Saints. NNL-141130-153724009

London Welsh had grabbed the first try of the game in their defeat to Leicester a week earlier, but Saints weren’t ready to make the kind of slow start Tigers had.

And after bossing all the early possession, a penalty kicked to the corner provided the chance to roll over the line, with flanker Clark dotting down.

Myler missed the kick in a strong breeze and he soon saw a penalty rebound off the right post as the wind continued to play havoc with kicks at goal.

At the other end, Welsh started to come to life, stretching Saints to the limit with only a last-ditch intervention preventing Peter Browne from touching down in the corner.

The concession of an early try clearly hadn’t broken the home side’s spirit and they continued to probe for gaps in the away defence.

But despite having plenty of possession and territory, Welsh couldn’t find a way through and they were undone before the break.

A forward blast from Luther Burrell provided the platform for Lee Dickson to release Myler, who got between two defenders to score.

The fly-half added the extras and he was soon at it again, as Saints took advantage of the sin-binning of Welsh loosehead Ricky Reeves to score through Manoa.

The American was on the end of another gargantuan shove from the visiting forwards, who were starting to make mincemeat of the opposition.

And Saints took just four second-half minutes to find their fourth try as Wilson’s sublime offload provided a score for Elliott.

Myler added the conversion and he was soon slotting another after Foden ghosted inside to finish off a flowing breakaway score.

Saints were 33-0 up and cruising by the time Welsh were restored to 15 men, but the levelling of numbers had a positive effect on the home side, who replied through Vea.

An optimistic home fan shouted ‘it’s on’ as Gordon Ross landed the conversion, but Saints simply ploughed on and Wilson showed strength to crawl over in the corner.

Myler missed the conversion, but it was turning into an extremely satisfying afternoon for Saints.

Sam Dickinson was one of a raft of away replacements as he came on for his first appearance of the season following close-season neck surgery.

But the big No.8 was soon being sent to the sin bin for being off his feet, making it not quite the happy return he had hoped for.

Saints still threatened, though, and Nutley became the seventh different Saints player to score as he latched on to Elliott’s inside pass and dotted down.

Wilson, taking over kicking duties from the replaced Myler, missed the conversion and Welsh quickly went up to other end to score through Reynolds.

But Will Robinson’s conversion barely brought a smile to home faces as Saints celebrated the win in front of a sizeable away following.

Match facts

London Welsh: Jewell (Awcock 73); Stegmann, Reynolds, May, Scott; Ross (Robinson 73), Rowley (Lewis 59); Reeves (Trevett 47), Vella (Morris 61); Vea; Schofield, Down; Browne, Kirwan, McCaffrey.

Replacements: Cooper, Corker, Pienaar.

Saints: Foden; Elliott, Stephenson, Burrell (Waldouck 54), Wilson; Myler (K Pisi 61), Dickson (Fotuali’i 67); A Waller (E Waller 50), Haywood (McMillan 65), Ma’afu (Denman 50); Manoa (Dickinson 56), Day (Harrison 54); Clark, Nutley, Dowson (c).

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Attendance: 4,357