Saints 2021/22: Tom Vickers' top five games

The season didn't end how Saints wanted, but, still, what a season it was!

By Tom Vickers
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 7:00 am
Saints secured a memorable win against Harlequins thanks to James Grayson's nerveless penalty
Saints secured a memorable win against Harlequins thanks to James Grayson's nerveless penalty

Chris Boyd's swashbuckling side scored 100 tries in total, with Tommy Freeman's effort against Leicester Tigers last Saturday bringing up a sensational century.

There were some incredible matches during one of the most memorable campaigns in recent Saints history.

Having been at almost every one of them, I pick my top five games of Saints' 2021/22 season here (unsurprisingly they all ended with a win for the black, green and gold)…

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5. Friday, November 26, 2021: Bristol Bears 20 Saints 36 (Gallagher Premiership)Saints had actually lost four successive games - two in the Premiership and two in the Premiership Rugby Cup - before they travelled to Ashton Gate in late November. They really needed to win - and win they did. They produced a big display, based on the sheer dominance of their forward pack, as they put Bristol to the sword. Tommy Freeman had a field day out wide and Saints kickstarted their season in the best way possible.

4. Saturday, September 25, 2021: Exeter Chiefs 24 Saints 26 (Gallagher Premiership)Sandy Park is always a tough place to go, and Saints knew they would be in for a real scrap against an Exeter side that lost in last season's Gallagher Premiership play-off final. But Chris Boyd's boys showed they could front up and mix it with the league's best as they bagged a memorable away win. George Furbank's late penalty proved to be key on a day when Saints had to come back from 14-0 down early on. It was a performance full of character and it really seemed to show that this team meant business.

3. Saturday, March 25, 2022: London Irish 22 Saints 42 (Gallagher Premiership)When Saints travelled to the Brentford Community Stadium for the first time back in March, they and London Irish both harboured realistic top-four hopes. It felt as though the winner would take a big step towards the play-offs and the loser would see their hopes all but extinguished. Things didn't look good for Saints when they conceded an early try, but from that point on, they delivered a display that has to go down as one of their best under Chris Boyd. They showcased an all-court game in the London sun, with the power of the forwards laying the platform for a dreamy backline display. There were some sensational scores, and it felt like we were really seeing what Boyd wanted from his side. Saints cruised to a bonus-point win that maintained their momentum and gave them a real spark in what eventually proved to be a successful play-off bid.

2. Friday, April 29, 2022: Saints 32 Harlequins 31 (Gallagher Premiership)This was a game that seemed to have it all from a Saints perspective. There was electric backs play, forward physicality, an immense amount of character and the dramatic finish. The noise levels at the Gardens were like the glory days of old as James Grayson landed the late penalty that ultimately won the game. Saints had lost five players to injury during the match, with uncontested scrums becoming the order of the day. There was a dream debut for then trialist Aaron Hinkley, who came on after just seven minutes, and all in all this was a showing that proved Saints were not going away in their pursuit of a play-off place. The celebrations at the final whistle said it all.

1. Saturday, April 23, 2022: Bath 31 Saints 36 (Gallagher Premiership)Quite simply, this was one of the most incredible games in the history of the Saints. Not because they were sensational throughout, they were far from that, but because they produced the most thrilling of comebacks to keep their play-off bid on track at The Rec. Ben Spencer's try double seemed to put beleaguered Bath out of sight at 31-12 up, but after Saints lost Brandon Nansen to injury following a lengthy delay, the tables well and truly turned. Try after try came the way of the black, green and gold before the most dramatic of denouements. The referee signalled a knock-on to seemingly end the game in a 31-31 draw, but the TMO got involved and it was seen that a Bath player had been the who who dislodged the ball, meaning Mike Haywood's opportunistic try stood. Haywood's celebration, complete with a lion-like roar, said it all as Saints celebrated the most stunning of successes in the west country sun.