Dowson salutes young guns and new signings after Saints secure 12-try success

Phil Dowson praised Archie McParland for a 'mature performance' after the 18-year-old produced an all-action showing against Doncaster Knights on Sunday afternoon.
Tom Pearson shone for Saints (picture: Ketan Shah)Tom Pearson shone for Saints (picture: Ketan Shah)
Tom Pearson shone for Saints (picture: Ketan Shah)

McParland conjured up a hat-trick for Saints, while also creating several opportunities for his team-mates in an emphatic 82-12 Premiership Rugby Cup success.

The scrum-half was making just his fifth appearance for the black, green and gold first team, four of which have come in this season's cup campaign.

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But McParland has taken to life with the Saints senior squad like a duck to water.

And Dowson said: "It was quite a mature performance.

"When you bear in mind that the experience at 10 is 21 years old, Fin Smith, then that's really positive.

"Archie has come in and been very, very confident. He backs himself in space and the Academy crew as a whole who have come in - there's six of them who have gone into the Under-20s squad - have been really, really positive.

"It's credit to the Academy department, who we put so much emphasis on."

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McParland and man of the match Tom Pearson led the way for Saints against Doncaster.

Pearson, who scored twice, was one of a few summer signings who were able to make a big impact against the Knights, with lock Chunya Munga grabbing his first try and hooker Curtis Langdon showing his class, tenacity and leadership skills.

"That integration of new players and making sure they're comfortable in the environment and able to execute the game plan is obviously really important," Dowson said.

"It's also important that some of those guys are leading as well; Curtis at half-time was really driving that message.

"Those players have fitted in and it's great to have the Academy players stepping up and feeling comfortable enough to express themselves."