McParland and Pearson heroics help 12-try Saints to deliver huge win against Doncaster

Archie McParland was the hat-trick hero for Saints as the 18-year-old scrum-half shone in a 82-12 Premiership Rugby Cup demolition of Doncaster Knights on Sunday afternoon.
Archie McParland scored a hat-trick for Saints against Doncaster (picture: Adam Gumbs)Archie McParland scored a hat-trick for Saints against Doncaster (picture: Adam Gumbs)
Archie McParland scored a hat-trick for Saints against Doncaster (picture: Adam Gumbs)

McParland and summer signing Tom Pearson, who scored two tries of his own, linked up to devastating effect on several occasions to floor the Knights.

Saints racked up 12 tries in all against the Championship outfit as Phil Dowson's men warmed up for next Sunday's Gallagher Premiership season opener at Sale Sharks in style.

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The black, green and gold, who knew they couldn't make the knockout stages of the cup, had started in flying fashion, causing huge problems for Doncaster from the off.

And it only took three minutes for the home side to open the scoring as George Furbank sent a superb pass out to Pearson, who proved too strong as he dived over for his first Saints try.

Fin Smith converted to make it 7-0 and Doncaster were under pressure, not helped by the fact they had lost to two members of their front row to head injury assessments in the opening three minutes.

The Knights still managed to win a penalty at the scrum though, giving skipper Sam Olver the chance to put them on the board, but the former Saints fly-half sent his effort wide.

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And Saints soon made Olver pay with their second try, made by some magic from scrum-half McParland, who delivered a superb, rapid offload for the onrushing Furbank to sprint into space and score.

Smith added the extras and Saints were having real fun in the sun.

But Doncaster bit back, winning a penalty in the Saints 22 before setting up an attack from which full-back Harry Davey scored, finishing in the corner.

Curtis Langdon was sin-binned for killing the ball in the build-up, and the Knights had a foothold in the game with little more than 15 minutes gone.

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Olver added the conversion to cut the gap to seven points and the Knights were on the charge.

Alex Waller and Joel Matavesi did well to combine to stop Connor Davison scoring as the prop was held up under the posts.

And Saints again punished the away side, who overthrew a lineout inside their own 22, allowing Langdon and then Pearson to plough forward, with the flanker scoring his second try of the game.

Smith converted with ease and Saints thought they had their bonus-point try soon after, but McParland's fine effort, which saw him chip ahead and gather, was ruled out for an earlier tug of the shirt from Pearson off the ball close to halfway.

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But Pearson made amends soon after, delivering a sensational assist as he made a burst, showcased his footwork and awareness with a superb one-handed offload for McParland to dive over for the bonus-point effort.

Smith converted to make it 28-7 at half-time.

Saints flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half as Langdon and McParland shone in the build-up before Joel Matavesi did well to release Sam Graham, who scored against his former club.

Smith added the extras and another try soon arrived as McParland once again impacted the game, breaking away from a scrum and spotting space to score his second.

The conversion was again added by Smith, and the fly-half then added his name to the scoresheet, intercepting before turning on the turbos to score.

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He got his breath back to add the gloss to his own try, taking Saints to one point shy of a half-century.

Doncaster were submerged and a special moment soon arrived for teenage scrum-half McParland as he ran yet another excellent support line, picking up from Pearson to score his hat-trick try.

Furbank converted and it was turning into an evisceration with close to half and hour still to play.

A first Saints try for Chunya Munga was to follow as he pounced after the ball went loose over the Knights line.

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Furbank again converted before Doncaster finally responded as George Simpson picked up and ran in to score after Tom James had seen the ball slip from his grasp.

Billy McBryde sent the conversion wide to leave the score at 63-12 in Saints' favour with 15 minutes to go.

And James Ramm finally wrote his name on the scoresheet as he bounced off attempted tackles in trademark fashion to dot down for Saints.

Rory Hutchinson added the extras with ease, and he did so again on 74 minutes after a tidy jinking finish from Tom Seabrook.

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Doncaster were well and truly fatigued as they fought desperately with the final whistle beckoning.

But Saints still had time for yet another try as George Hendy blocked a kick with his chest and then grabbed the ball to score.

Hutchinson hit the post with the conversion, but it wasn't any consolation for Doncaster as Saints celebrated a huge home win.

Saints: Furbank (Glister 65); Ramm, Hutchinson, J Matavesi, Seabrook; F Smith (Hendy 48), McParland (James 60); A Waller (E Waller 60), Langdon (R Smith 48), Davison (Millar Mills 60); Moon, Munga; Lockett, Pearson (Atuanya 56), Graham (Scott-Young 52).

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Doncaster Knights: Davey; Simpson, Bedlow (McBryde 60), Edwards, Holden; Olver (c) (McBryde 52), Dolly (Fox 56); Davidson (Courtney 1), Doughty (Terry 44), Foster (Garside 56); Ehizode (Mintern 46), Murphy; Wilson (Hopkinson 52), Tait, Nagle-Taylor.

Referee: Dan Jones

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