Northampton Saints academy manager Paul Diggin hailed the performance of his young side as they downed Gloucester Rugby 19-13 at Franklin’s Gardens.
Saints are now two from two in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, with Sam Olver finishing with 14 points as the home side held off a strong Gloucester fightback late on.
Charlie Clare scored Northampton’s only try, and Diggin was delighted to see his young charges impress, and expects to see many of them push for game time in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
He said: “It was a fantastic performance against Gloucester. It was a little bit frustrating that we let them back in with that try at the end.
“I think for that, they may have knocked the ball on but we should never have put ourselves in that position in the first place.
“Some people may think this is a devalued cup but this is truly valuable experience for our young players.
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) November 12, 2016
“I was very pleased with Rory Hutchinson, I think he’s getting better and better as he plays more.
“It was good to see Lewis Ludlam get his opportunity again, he’s been waiting a while. Some of the guys have been really patient to get their first team opportunity and it’s fantastic to see them play.
“Some of them have really put their hands up.
“Going forward now there will be some selection headaches which is a brilliant problem to have. We want competition for each place so it will be interesting next time around.”
Gloucester had pulled off a great escape last week, and nearly did the same again as they came from 19-3 to within a score thanks to tries from Ollie Thorley and Dan Thomas.
But they could not quite get over the line, although backs coach Tim Taylor was still impressed by his side.
He said: “We had a good mix of players out there. We produced a solid performance on the whole but we lost the game in a few key areas which we’ll be looking to work on in training and trying to put right.
“The objective was of course to win but I thought the boys toughed it out well in the end. Finally we had a lot of young boys in the pack who gave a good account of themselves.
“This will be a really good experience for them and one they can learn a lot from.”
Northampton Saints: Wilson (Burrell, 75), Elliott , Burrell (Foden, 60), Hutchinson, Collins, Olver, 9 Kessell (Dickson, 57), Waller (Beesley, 63), Clare (Fish 60), Hill (Denman, 63), Onojaife, Craig, Gibson (Nutley, 60), Ludlam, Dickinson (Harrison, 54).
Not used: Paterson
Gloucester Rugby: Evans, Protheroe (Vellacott, 69), Purdy, Creed, Thorley, Burns (Hudson, 60), Braley, Y Thomas (Hohneck, 53), Walker, Ma’afu (Knight, 40), Batley (Beckett, 42), Latta (Clarke, 53), Ludlow, Thomas, Evans (Safe, 60).
Penalties: Olver 3
Drop goals: Olver
Tries: Thorley, Thomas
Referee: Craig Evans
The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com