Northampton Saints 38 Worcester Warriors 18: Tom Vickers’ review and player ratings

Tom Collins was Saints' hat-trick hero (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Tom Collins was Saints' hat-trick hero (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

On a day when three figures from Saints’ past returned to Franklin’s Gardens, it was a youngster who has such a bright future who stole the show.

Tom Collins, son of former Cobblers striker Darren Collins, capped an all-action display with a first senior hat-trick, propelling his club to a vital bonus-point victory against Worcester Warriors.

There was nothing Phil Dowson, making his first competitive comeback to the Gardens since leaving last summer, GJ van Velze and another ex-Saint Ryan Lamb could do to stop the talented 21-year-old.

And for Saints it was a second successive resounding home victory, following the 35-7 evisceration of London Irish two weeks earlier.

That they scored six tries against a Warriors side who scrapped for their lives and were 15-12 up at half-time was a sign of the ambition in the home ranks.

Rather than risk kicking from the tee in windy conditions, Stephen Myler constantly went for the corner, laying down a marker.

Tom Collins caused Worcester problems all afternoon

Tom Collins caused Worcester problems all afternoon

It was like the Saints of old, taking their opposition on from minute one and showing that they were ready to hammer home their superiority.

Initially, it looked like the tactic wouldn’t pay off, with Worcester doing well to constantly shut the door in Northampton faces.

But the ever-lively Collins helped to break the resistance and, on the other wing, Ken Pisi was back to his fleet-footed best having also come into the team for this game.

The sparky Samoan provided the moment of the match with a dazzling run that left Worcester dazed, giving Harry Mallinder the chance to add another try to his tally.

Tom Kessell set up George Pisi's score

Tom Kessell set up George Pisi's score

And Collins then helped take the game beyond the Warriors in the second period, scoring twice more, while Lee Dickson and George Pisi also registered in the six-try success.

It means Saints have now scored 10 tries in their past two home matches, which is three more than they had amassed in their previous seven Gardens outings.

They said that a lack of rain would stop them slipping up at home and they have been proved right in recent weeks.

But there is still plenty of work to be done, with their defence not quite functioning as they would have liked, especially during the first half.

George Pisi rounded things off for Saints

George Pisi rounded things off for Saints

And there is no doubt that as tough as the Warriors were to break down at times, much sterner examinations lie in wait in the next few weeks.

The next three matches see Saints go to Saracens and Exeter Chiefs either side of a home clash with a Sale Sharks team who scored 36 points against Sarries on Saturday.

So Saints will know they must keep improving and get up a head of steam if they are to make the top four this season.

On Saturday night, they were sitting in the play-off places, but big wins for Wasps and Leicester Tigers on Sunday mean Saints are now fifth, three points off fourth-placed Tigers.

With eight games to go, there is plenty of time to alter the situation and if Saints are to do that they will need all of the attacking intent they showed on Saturday.

Collins and Pisi deserve to keep their places in the coming weeks and could be vital in games where their team are pegged back by strong home sides.

Ken Pisi's brilliant burst provided a try for Harry Mallinder

Ken Pisi's brilliant burst provided a try for Harry Mallinder

But whatever happens in the next few weeks and months, Saints can draw satisfaction from the fact their future looks bright.

The Academy has become a factory of stars in recent years and Collins and Mallinder are striking examples of that.

Those players not only have quality, but an abundance of character, too.

And how those qualities will be needed against table-topping Sarries next Saturday.

How they rated...


Showed good awareness to tee Collins up for the wing’s first try and always looked dangerous with ball in hand... 7


The razor-sharp Samoan produced a stellar display, with his silky run cutting Worcester to shreds for Mallinder’s try. Thought he had one of his own, but it was ruled out... 8


The England centre is most certainly back to his best and he continued his fine form with another hugely influential display... 8


Showed good speed and balance to score his try and although Worcester took him on defensively a few times, he could be happy with his efforts... 7


Looked lively from start to finish, keeping Worcester on their toes with constant bursts which eventually resulted in a superb hat-trick... 9


Kept control of the game well and it is vital that Saints keep this man in the side to maintain some consistency... 7


Like Burrell, the scrum-half has been reinvigorated of late and he was impressive again here, etching his name on the scoresheet for the fourth time in three games... 8


Carried really well during the first half and looked strong before being replaced by his brother, Ethan... 7


A typically tenacious display from the tireless hooker, who, like a Duracell Bunny, just keeps going and going... 7


A big display from the prop, who has a point to prove after being overlooked by England for the Six Nations so far... 8


The lofty lock is enjoying a run in the team and he is making the most of his chance, turning in some steady showings... 7


Played his first full game in Saints colours and was an important presence at times when direction was needed... 7


This man is turning out to be one of the signings of the season in the Premiership. His brilliant break and offload for Collins’ hat-trick score was eye-catching... 8


Worked just as hard as ever, scrapping for every ball in a game that required real fight to earn a valuable win... 7


Has not been starting too much in recent weeks, but he stated his case here with a menacing display... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

GEORGE PISI (for Mallinder 51)

Came into the game at the right time as Saints were starting to step things up and the Samoan showed good positional sense to grab himself a try... 7