Tom Vickers’ Amlin Challenge Cup Final view and player ratings

The assembled media were happy with their lot when Tom Wood suddenly extended the post-Amlin Challenge Cup final press conference with an urge to make a point.

Saturday, 24th May 2014, 3:14 pm
SQUAD EFFORT - the Saints team and squad players celebrate their success at the Cardiff Arms Park (Pictures: Lidna Dawson)

“Could I just say, I’d like to credit the wider squad with tonight’s effort,” said Wood. “Guys have played in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of this competition, people like Ben Nutley, James Craig, Ethan Waller... too many names to mention.

“It’s not just about the 15 or 23 in this game, it’s about the whole squad, hence why we got them on the pitch at the end.

“I’m really proud of the depth of our squad, the guys who have stepped up and those who have taken selection on the chin and missed out. I’d like to credit them for it.”

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SQUAD EFFORT - the Saints team and squad players celebrate their success at the Cardiff Arms Park (Pictures: Lidna Dawson)

It was yet another measure of Wood’s class as a captain as he ensured everyone who had played their part in the Amlin Challenge Cup triumph was given recognition.

And he was right to do so because Saints’ European triumph wasn’t just forged in Cardiff on Friday night.

It was created with Dublin defiance, Swansea strength, Salford skill and plenty of other ingredients along the way.

Just as reaching the LV= Cup final had been a sizeable squad effort, this was too.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140523-233124006

And at the denouement of this European campaign, that depth told as Bath were blown away in a second half that will have left them shell-shocked.

Things looked to be going so well for the men in blue and white, but when things began to go wrong, they couldn’t turn the tide.

This is where Saints have grown as a team during the past few years.

They now know how to pull games out of the fire.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140523-233114006

Just as they did against Leicester a week earlier, they retained belief and upped the tempo, leaving the opposition in their slipstream.

Stephen Myler once again played a mammoth role in a recovery, this time from 13-6 down at the break.

He may not get the plaudits George Ford receives, but he once again showed he is the man for the crucial moments.

He landed seven of his eight kicks, missing just once - a late conversion when the game was already won - to help his team over the line.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140523-233104006

It was the story of his season and even drew praise from the Bath faithful with one inebriated member of the crowd telling his mate there was no chance, in more slightly more colourful language, that Myler would miss before the fly-half slotted his sixth penalty of the game.

Myler’s 20 points helped Saints secure the silverware, but so did the forward pack’s immense power in this final.

So did Kahn Fotuali’i’s super-show in the semi-final success against Harlequins, which included a fine score from Tom Collins.

So did Ben Nutley’s two-try heroics and Ethan Waller’s enormous display on a soggy night at Sale back in April.

So did George Pisi’s impressive score against Castres at Franklin’s Gardens.

So did George North’s brilliant burst against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140523-233913006

So did Jamie Elliott’s breakaway score following the most gargantuan of defensive performances at the Aviva Stadium.

So you see, the credits list for this particular success story is as long as Courtney Lawes’ legs.

Wood was right: this was about everyone.

And how everyone enjoyed it when that trophy was hoisted high into the Cardiff sky.

Now it’s time for the ultimate squad effort - the Premiership season - to end in a similarly happy fashion for this special Saints group.

How they rated...


Looked secure all night and also chipped in with some quick-thinking to steer his side upfield and out of danger... 8


Ran into trouble as Bath burgled him to score during the first half, but bounced back well, with one hit on Nick Abendanon a particular highlight... 7


Big defensive display from the Samoan, who, like his brother, made a huge hit on Abendanon and helped to turn the tide... 8


Made a number of big bursts to gain his team ground and was full of running all night as he helped push Bath back... 8


Not able to have as much impact as against Leicester, but was always looking for work and kept Bath on their toes... 7


A sensational display from the fly-half, who kicked all the points the last time Saints won the Challenge Cup in 2009, and was exceptional from the tee here... 9


Tried to keep the tempo high and his box-kicking game relieved some pressure, but Bath stifled his threat well... 7


Saw yellow in the second half but that was the only blot on his copybook as he bossed Bath up front... 7


Another good night for the youngster, who was accurate in the lineout, powerful in the scrum and aggressive in the loose... 8


Was part of a huge forward effort and had plenty of joy in the scrum as Bath struggled to deal with Saints’ power... 7


Made a few trademark charges that gained some ground and was typically hungry for a hit as Saints looked to impose themselves... 7


Tried to take the fight to Bath and popped up on a regular basis as he looked to carry hard. Also impressed in defence and in the lineout... 8


Had his work cut out against an aggressive set of forwards at the breakdown, but stood tall and pushed his team on... 7


Another huge performance from the skipper, who backed up his massive display against Leicester with another towering effort here... 8


Had been in brilliant form against Leicester a week earlier and put in another powerful performance... 7

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

KAHN FOTUALI’I (for Dickson 56)

Provided so much energy and endeavour and his quick-thinking left Bath bamboozled at times... 7

PHIL DOWSON (for Clark 59)

Got his name on the scoresheet as the Saints forwards took total control in a strong late show... 7

ALEX WALLER (for Corbisiero 59)

Missed a chance for a try when dropping the ball at the last, but it wasn’t to matter as he injected plenty of strength up front and ensured Bath had no answer... 7

GARETH DENMAN (for Mercey 59)

Never lets the team down when he gets a chance and he kept them rolling towards the trophy with a determined cameo... 7

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140523-233814006
Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140523-233516006