Northampton Saints 36 Wasps 17: Tom Vickers' review and player ratings
"Well, that was fantastic."
Those were the words of a Saints fan in front of Franklin's Gardens the press box following Saturday's superb win against Wasps.And that short utterance pretty much summed it up perfectly, as Chris Boyd's new-look plan clicked into gear in devastating fashion.Saints scored five tries in a showing as full of substance as it was style.It was almost the complete performance, with Wasps struggling to get a sniff from start to finish.Yes, the away side did manage to garner 17 points, but they were never really in with a chance of winning once Andrew Kellaway's fine finish got Saints up and running.Young and old, the players sporting the black, green and gold sparked a real feelgood factor at the Gardens.There was a fresh enthusiasm on the field and in the stands.And how enjoyable it was for Saints supporters to witness not only the hunger of their team but the abundance of quality, too.It is all well and good having young players who are desperate to wear the shirt, but it means so much more when those prodigious talents ally that with quality and composure.That is exactly what the likes of Premiership debutants Alex Moon, Fraser Dingwall and George Furbank did.They took to life in England's top tier like ducks to water, providing big moments in a big win for their team.Dingwall's first Premiership try was one to savour as he did superbly to support a brilliant burst from the unstoppable Taqele Naiyaravoro.Dingwall still had work to do, but he did it in style, rounding off Saints' best score of the season so far.And if that was good, Ollie Sleightholme's try just seconds after coming on was perhaps even more memorable.Luther Burrell did some brilliant work and Sleightholme scooted down the right flank, showing his lightning speed and finishing ability as he slid in to score.It was the icing on a very tasty Saints cake.And if this is a sign of what is to come in the Boyd era, the message from the Franklin's Gardens faithful will simply be: "Bring it on!"The stands were not full again on Saturday, with the attendance around the 12,000 mark.But if Saints keep playing like this, the fans will come flocking back.Because not only are they so proud to see players they can consider their own impressing, they will also be so impressed with the quality of some of the summer recruits.Kellaway and Naiyaravoro were in fantastic form against Wasps, bringing their Super Rugby style to England.Naiyaravoro was like a human bowling ball, skittling Wasps players at will in a performance that bordered on cruelty to rugby players.Having barely touched the ball at Gloucester eight days earlier, he was everywhere against Wasps, buzzing around, searching for possession and putting players on the ground.Boyd and his fellow coaches struck the perfect blend between experience and youth, and how bright the future looks for Saints because of it.If this all sounds a bit like hyperbole, then let it.Because when performances like this come along, they deserve real recognition.It really was a wonderful display.How they rated...GEORGE FURBANKA Premiership debut for the full-back who didn't look out of place at all, looking secure defensively and dangerous in attack... 8ANDREW KELLAWAYThis man continues to show what a good signing he was as he turned in a display full of flair, which included a fantastic finish under pressure to give Saints lift-off... 8FRASER DINGWALLThe talented young centre gave another great example of his class as he did everything well and finished his scoring chance superbly... 8PIERS FRANCISA really good display from the England man, who showcased his international class in defence and attack, scoring a key try... 8TAQELE NAIYARAVORO - CHRON STAR MANA gargantuan performance from a gargantuan player. The Australian seemed to be everywhere in attack, causing Wasps problems they really couldn't deal with... 9JAMES GRAYSONDidn't have an easy day from the tee, with his place kicking unusually awry, but he controlled the game really well in open play and made some big tackles... 7COBUS REINACHThe scrum-half was key in keeping the tempo high and he was rewarded with some really warm applause when he left the field... 8ALEX WALLERThe skipper led from the front, showing real desire as he played with real physicality around the park... 7JAMES FISHSaints have such strength in depth at hooker, and Fish once again showed that he can step into the No.2 shirt with no trouble at all... 7BEN FRANKSHad missed the previous week's game due to injury, but returned to put in a steady showing up front... 7DAVID RIBBANSHad been battling the flu in the build-up to the game, making him a late doubt, but you would never have known it when the game started as he impressed yet again... 8ALEX MOONThe young lock is looking like a real asset for Saints, with his carrying and awareness around the field eye-catching, and he made 15 tackles, too... 9TOM WOODLooks to be savouring every second of action after seven months out injured, and he has proved to be a really important figure in recent weeks... 8LEWIS LUDLAMHow good was this man? He flew around the field like a player possessed, but he was controlled, too, stepping in so many times, racking up 19 tackles... 9TEIMANA HARRISONSuch appetite and aggression from the No.8, who was a constant menace for Wasps as they failed to deal with his raw desire... 8Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)KARL GARSIDE (for Franks 40)The guest prop is certainly going the right way about getting a contract as he impresses in the scrum and around the park, making seven tackles in all... 7JAMIE GIBSON (for Harrison 57)Was only on the field for 23 minutes but made 10 tackles during that time, including one huge hit to stop a Wasps score... 7REECE MARSHALL (for Fish 58)Came on at a time when Saints were in total control of the game and he managed to help them continue that theme... 6API RATUNIYARAWA (for Ribbans 58)Got stuck in after coming on and also tried to carry the fight to Wasps on a few occasions... 6