Saints 46 London Welsh 0: Tom Vickers’ review and player ratings

Saracens pioneered the tag last season - and now it is Saints’ to hold.

Lee Dickson dived over for two Saints tries (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Lee Dickson dived over for two Saints tries (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Jim Mallinder’s men secured a 46-0 win against London Welsh on Saturday and, in the process, ripped the title of ‘Premiership league winners’ from their Barnet-based rivals.

Saracens had used it in articles on their website and though it was a hollow label, it did actually mean something.

It may not have brought silverware, but it did bring satisfaction.

Because the team that sits at the summit after 22 games of a gruelling season deserves some acclaim.

Saracens deserved it last season - and Saints, who finished second in the previous campaign, deserve it this time round.

To go through two international windows and four seasons - which require different styles of play - and emerge as the No.1 outfit is creditable.

It shows that your squad can cope in different conditions, under immense scrutiny and pressure.

And for Saints, it is a welcome first.

No, it does not compare to winning at Twickenham.

The players who did a lap of honour in their final regular season home game on Saturday did not have their hearts beating through their chests like on that day at HQ last May.

But they were entitled to feel a sense of contentment.

Because over 22 largely onerous games, they have shown that is is their squad that is the best.

Now, in what is essentially knock-out rugby, they will again be asked to show their nerve.

They will have to show they can win a cup as well as a league.

Last season, they won the one that mattered.

This time round, they would love to do a double that very few teams have managed since the inception of the current play-off format in the 2005/06 season.

And they are going the right way about it, with recent wins against Saracens and London Welsh stoking the momentum ahead of the potentially momentous matches ahead.

How they rated...


Just gets better and better. The Samoan full-back scored one and helped make others as he took another step towards earning a long-term deal... 8


Razor sharp, the wing cut through London Welsh at will, with one burst from deep providing Tuala’s try... 8


Made some huge hits, ratlling London Welsh rib cages on a regular basis, and also impressed going forward... 7


Scored twice, including the bonus-point try, as his power simply proved too much for the struggling visitors to handle... 8


Plenty of energy from the wide man, who chased high balls with real vigour and who eventually etched his name on the scoresheet... 7


A good display from the fly-half. He has certainly rediscovered his kicking boots after tricky outings against Clermont and Exeter... 7


One of his best displays of the season, the scrum-half was quick in his thinking and his movement as he snapped up two tries... 8


Helped Saints get on top at the scrum and also carried well on an afternoon the home forwards relished... 7


The skipper is clearly ready for the run-in as he again looked in good form with a dominant display... 7


Mounting a strong case to start the crucial play-off semi-final as he again showed his worth... 7


Carried the fight to London Welsh and Saints will be delighted to see him fit and firing in the final month of the season... 7


Put himself about, taking on the biggest of Welsh players and ensuring Saints stayed on the front foot... 7


Was desperate to get his hands on the ball and his fire and desire was an example to everyone... 7


Never fails to impress and continued to stake his claim for individual accolades with another commanding display... 7


Once again showed just why he will be so missed when he heads to Toulon this summer as he pushed London Welsh to the limit with some superb carries and offloads... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

ALEX CORBISIERO (for Waller 56)

Saints were well on their way to the win by the time he came on, but he still added to the side... 6

MIKE HAYWOOD (for Hartley 56)

A great man to have in the starting 15 or in reserve as he adds real energy and enthusiasm to proceedings... 7

SALESI MA’AFU (for Denman 56)

Will fight all the way to regain his place in the side and this was not a bad little cameo from the Australian... 6

KAHN FOTUALI’I (for Dickson 56)

So switched on, the Samoan scrum-half helped push the team on to claim the tries they wanted... 7