Northampton Saints 40 Bath 19: Tom Vickers' review and player ratings

Two games, 76 points scored, 10 league points pocketed and a top-four spot secured for Christmas - it's fair to say the past two weeks have gone pretty well for Saints.

Sunday, 5th December 2021, 1:52 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th December 2021, 1:54 pm
Courtnall Skosan scored twice for Saints against Bath

It hasn't all been attractive, particularly against a stodgy Bath side on Saturday afternoon, but Chris Boyd's side have more than got the job done on their return to Gallagher Premiership action.

They have had to navigate two very different challenges but have done so with few problems overall.

And how satisfied they can be with a start to the season that has seen them win six of their nine league matches to date.

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That is not to say there is not plenty of work to be done. There is.

And there is no doubt they have been done a few favours by injuries in opposition squads, as they have beaten Gloucester, Exeter, Bristol and Bath teams beset by absences.

But you can only beat what's in front of you - and Saints have certainly done that.

Bath were hit by huge injury issues before and during Saturday's game at the Gardens, and Saints proceeded to rub salt in the gaping wounds.

Tommy Freeman

They were clinical as they delivered six tries against the league's current bottom side.

And though there was plenty of huff and puff on an afternoon when Bath didn't seem in a hurry to do anything, there were plenty of flashpoints in attack for Saints.

They scored some lovely tries, with some brilliant pieces of execution, and they refused to be overwhelmed when Bath started to apply the squeeze early in the second period.

After conceding a try just after Sam Matavesi was sent to the sin bin, Saints responded and pushed on to grab a couple of tries that made the game safe.

Rory Hutchinson

There will be far tougher challenges to come, notably in the next two weeks when they take on European giants Racing 92 and Ulster.

But the past two matches will have done wonders for confidence, and they have certainly provided a sizeable boost in terms of Premiership standing.

Saints have got the toughest of fixture lists coming up over the festive period and they badly needed as many points as they could get against Bristol and Bath.

As it is, they have taken the full 10, with tries flowing and belief building.

Lewis Ludlam

There will still be questions asked about some of the scores they are conceding and some of their discipline under pressure inside their own 22.

And if they don't improve in those areas, it won't be such a happy Christmas.

But for now, the team is in a good place and there are foundations in place ahead of a run of games that will test this squad to its limit.

How they rated...

GEORGE FURBANK

Looks to be in confident mood right now and after switching to 10, he made a crossfield kick look easy as he set up Courtnall Skosan for a score... 7.5

Fraser Dingwall

TOMMY FREEMAN

Etched his name on the scoresheet yet again, showcasing his awareness and strong running game, particularly during the first period... 7.5

FRASER DINGWALL

Was a key figure here, making some hugely important attacking contributions as he did brilliantly to set up scores for Juarno Augustus and Courtnall Skosan... 8.5

RORY HUTCHINSON

Got out of the blocks quickly with a second-minute score and some of his passing kept Bath on their toes... 7

COURTNALL SKOSAN

Continues to look like a serious signing as not only is he usually in the right place to finish moves off, he also plays a role in others, delivering an unselfish try assist for Freeman... 8.5

DAN BIGGAR

Had one of his legs heavily strapped but it didn't seem to bother him as he looked largely secure before being given a late breather... 7

ALEX MITCHELL

Another typically sharp showing from the scrum-half, who was always probing for openings and who grabbed yet another try assist... 7.5

ALEX WALLER

Bath provided plenty of fight up front but this man was able to keep things steady in a decent showing... 6.5

SAM MATAVESI

Found himself in the sin bin as the penalties started to stack up against Saints, but his overall contribution was good... 7

EHREN PAINTER

Didn't do much wrong as he helped Saints to battle a tough Bath pack before being replaced early in the second period... 6.5

DAVID RIBBANS

A tower of strength as he looked to be returning to something like his best form, stealing lineouts and carrying with real ferocity... 8

ALEX MOON

His form has been on an upward curve for a few weeks now and he got stuck in for his side once again here... 7

KARL WILKINS

If recent evidence is anything to go by, this man is a very good signing for Saints. He has power and the ability to pick a pass under pressure, and he was superb here... 8.5

LEWIS LUDLAM - CHRON STAR MAN

As Sam Matavesi tweeted after this game: How good is Lewis Ludlam? He was everywhere in this game, making 18 tackles and winning key turnovers before powering forward... 8.5

JUARNO AUGUSTUS

Scored his first two Saints tries as he once again showed how good he can be. Bath couldn't handle his physicality in attack, and he also excelled in defence, making 17 tackles... 8.5

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

API RATUNIYARAWA (for Moon 45)

Looked hungry to get involved after coming on early in the second half, racking up 12 tackles in just 35 minutes on the field... 6.5

NICK AUTERAC (for Waller 45)

Was heavily involved in Saints' defensive effort, standing tall as Bath started to apply the pressure early in the second period... 6.5

PAUL HILL (for Painter 45)

Got his hands on the ball on a couple of occasions as he sought a path to the try line and helped his side get the job done... 6