Tom Vickers’ Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks view and player ratings
If there is a fly which resides on a wall in the away dressing room at Franklin’s Gardens, it will not be enjoying a quiet life.
So many teams have entered those four walls with a positive result in mind, yet left with the words of their management ringing in their ears.
On Saturday, it was Sale’s turn.
Sharks to the slaughter, they added their name to a list of victims who have not only been beaten, but systematically dismantled by Saints.
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And so angry was their boss, Steve Diamond, that he opted not to conduct a post-match media conference.
Instead, he sent the Sale press officer to convey the message that there were no positives to take.
That his side had sparked their own downfall.
And you can imagine that those sentiments included more than a few expletives when they were uttered directly to the players.
But if there is to be any solace for Sale, it is that they are not the first side, and will not be the last, who have been blown away by the champions.
If you’re a fan of statistics, how about this one: Saints have scored a total of 201 points in their previous four regular-season Premiership home games combined.
And the teams that make up that quartet - Wasps, Gloucester, Bath and Sale - are far from relegation-fodder.
So while Sale are beating themselves up, the other side of the coin sees Saints deservedly head the Premiership table.
They did not slay the Sharks purely because of the visitors’ errors.
They drowned the men in white with power, precision and pace, especially from the Pisi brothers.
Ken dazzled, slaloming his way through the Sale rearguard like a star skier before setting up sibling George for Saints’ third with a superb gather.
Kahn Fotuali’i also scored as the Polynesian players took centre stage, while Samu Manoa, American by birth but with strong Tongan ties, iced the cake with a hat-trick.
And Saints could even afford to pick their time to bring on the likes of Dylan Hartley and George North, whose arrival gave yet another glowing example of the squad’s depth.
All of that strength will be needed when the European assault gets underway next weekend, but for now another huge home victory can be savoured.
As for Sale, their defeat is another reminder of how tough it will be to beat Saints on home turf this season.
Franklin’s Gardens is fast acquiring the kind of fearsome status Welford Road has held for so many years.
Teams may not say it publicly - Sale stated their willingness to be adventurous prior to Saturday’s tussle - but many must surely fear to tread on Piggy Powell’s patch now.
And that visiting dressing room is just as unwelcoming.
How they rated...
Once again staked his claim for the England 15 shirt with another cutting display. His kicking was a particular highlight as the full-back pinned Sale back superbly... 8
KEN PISI - CHRON STAR MAN
Dazzling display from the snake-hipped Samoan, whose quick feet left Sale bamboozled. His try was special and so was his assist for sibling George... 9
Has enjoyed a brilliant start to the season and it continued here as he dived over for a try and put in another good performance... 7
Would loved to have got on the scoresheet against his former club, but did plenty to help others register on a good day for the men in green, black and gold... 7
His first appearance of the season was impressive as, like Ken Pisi, his jinking runs caused problems for the away side... 7
Kicked well once again and his game management was impressive as he outshone England rival Danny Cipriani... 7
Kept the tempo high from the off and made a couple of scything runs that opened up space for his team-mates... 7
Helped Saints turn the power on up front, with Sale struggling to answer the relentless charges of the home pack... 7
The hooker is a dynamic performer and he has a great turn of pace for a forward, keeping Sale on their toes with some ground-gaining runs... 7
A stop-start afternoon for the prop as he was forced off before coming back on and going off again, but had time to make his mark in the forward battle... 7
Was a menace in the lineout and around the field as he gave Sale little time to breathe and imposed himself on the game... 8
Came in at late notice for James Craig, who was ill, and proceeded to steer Saints around the park with a typically assured performance... 7
An emotional day as he led Saints out alongside Georgia Ghaut, sister of Luis, and he put plenty of passion into his performance as always... 7
Was withdrawn at half-time but had made an impact until then and continues to impress in a Saints shirt... 7
It’s unusual to score a hat-trick and not win the man of the match award, but Manoa won’t care as he grabbed three opportunistic tries and put in a fine performance... 9
Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)
PHIL DOWSON (for Fisher 40)
Was brought onto the bench at late notice and got plenty of game time, carrying well and exerting his authority on the match... 7
DYLAN HARTLEY (for Haywood 53)
Came on and helped Saints turn up the heat on their opponents with waves of forward pressure proving too much for the away side... 7
GARETH DENMAN (for Ma’afu 53)
Added plenty of muscle to proceedings and he impressed in a scrum that saw Fotuali’i get the chance to score a simple try... 7
CALUM CLARK (for Lawes 57)
Always adds energy to proceedings and helped his side stay strong in defence as Sale sought consolation scores... 6
JAMES WILSON (for G Pisi 57)
Got the chance to grab a couple of points, converting Fotuali’i’s try, but the game was over as a contest by the time he took to the field... 6
GEORGE NORTH (for K Pisi 57)
Did his best to add to the glut of tries, but was halted by Sale as they tried to avoid further embarrassment... 6