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It’s Alex’s Day as Saints sweep aside Gloucester

WELL DONE - James Wilson congratulates Ken Pisi on one of his two tries against Gloucester (pictures: Linda Dawson)

WELL DONE - James Wilson congratulates Ken Pisi on one of his two tries against Gloucester (pictures: Linda Dawson)

Alex Day enjoyed a dream debut as he scored twice to help Saints secure a 33-6 bonus-point win in their LV= Cup opener against Gloucester.

Replacement scrum-half Day’s quickfire second-half double added to two tries from Samoan speedster Ken Pisi in the first period to make it another good day for Jim Mallinder’s men at Franklin’s Gardens.

Kiwi kicker Glenn Dickson, in for the rested Stephen Myler, added 11 points and Academy fly-half Sam Olver two to put the gloss on proceedings.

Gloucester knocked at the door, but were frustrated by some fine defending, only registering through two penalties from England ace Freddie Burns.

Saints had made 11 changes to the team which beat London Irish six days earlier, while Gloucester opted to change 12 from the defeat at Bath.

And it was to be Jim Mallinder’s fresh faces who impressed the most as they put in a clinical performance.

Dickson, a summer recruit from Otago, started the scoring on his debut as Saints won a penalty after GJ van Velze charged down a Burns clearance kick.

The visiting No.10 did make amends with a quick retort from in front of the posts and proceeded to pull the strings as his side attempted to make inroads.

The England man made it 6-3 after Saints were again penalised but the home side soon got on top at the scrum to secure a penalty that Dickson again pushed between the posts.

Another debutant, Howard Packman, then did well to prevent Gloucester scoring the first try of the game as he used his trademark speed to stop Matt Kvesic in his tracks.

The away side soon suffered a blow as Matt Cox was sent to the bin for foul play and Saints stepped things up to take advantage immediately.

Captain for the day Dom Waldouck put a grubber through, James Wilson hacked it on and Pisi got on the end of it, diving over the line to touch the ball down.

Saints had the bit between their teeth and Pisi scored his second try in the space of five minutes, storming down the blindside after good work from Tom Mercey.

Dickson made it 18-6 with 10 minutes to go before the break and Gloucester were left to reflect on a costly few minutes as Cox returned from the bin.

Buoyed by their double score, Saints were stepping it up in all departments, cranking up the heat in the scrum and forcing Gloucester to make mistakes.

The defensive linespeed was particularly impressive with plenty of young, hungry players making a big impression.

That was again in evidence as Cox charged through but was met by three Saints players at the last, knocking on to see another chance wasted.

As both sides rung the changes, the game began to peter out, but there was to be a big moment for Day on debut.

The England Under 20 scrum-half grabbed his first Saints try, picking up the ball after a determined break from Matt Williams.

Youngster Olver added the extras and the home side set off in search of a bonus-point score.

And they were to get it as Day picked up the pieces to complete a personal double and round off a fine day for the Saints squad.

Saints: Wilson; K Pisi, Stephenson, Waldouck, Packman (Artemyev 60); G Dickson (Olver 70), Glynn (A Day 52); A Waller (E Waller 56), Haywood (McMillan 65), Mercey (Denman 56), Verbakel, Craig (Woolford 65), Nutley, Harrison, van Velze.

Gloucester: M Thomas (L Evans 70); Sharples, Thorley, Tindall, Reynolds; F Burns (B Burns 72), Knoyle (Boughton 72); Gibbons (Y Thomas 45), George (Britton 50), Knight, James, Hicks, Cox, Kvesic (Hill 65), G Evans (Moriarty 55).

Referee: Steve Lee

Attendance: 12,870

 

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