James Wilson showed Northampton Saints fans that Ben Foden’s time out for injury might not be so bad after all with a fantastic two-try showing in his side’s 24-6 Aviva Premiership win over London Wasps.
Wilson and a rampaging Courtney Lawes in the loose were the standout performers in the match which continued Saints’ perfect start to the season and left Wasps with only one win so far.
A topsy-turvy first half for Wasps was seriously dampened by winger James Bailey suffering a suspected broken leg in the opening 20 minutes and a yellow card to Tim Payne with seconds to go.
But it was the second half where Saints began to run riot and combined some high pressure attacking with some very canny defending to make it a comfortable night at Franklin’s Gardens.
Saints took an early lead through Wilson as Ken Pisi picked up the ball in his own half before breaking through the line and releasing the Kiwi for his first Saints try.
Stephen Myler landed his first kick from three attempts 12 minutes in to put Saints into an eight-point lead.
But Nick Robinson kept Wasps in the hunt with penalties either side of the stoppage for Bailey’s injury however Myler went past 650 Aviva Premiership points with two more three-pointers.
And Tim Payne ensured he would miss ten minutes of the second half in his 250th appearance when he was yellow carded for a knee on a prone Saints player.
Saints looked to make the extra man count early in the second period but with the try line gaping Vasily Artemyev twice knocked on leaving the Russian frustrated.
On a night clouded by injury Christian Day was also subject to a nasty looking leg injury and was stretchered off although this didn’t halt the rampant Saints who scored again from their first attack following the restart.
Some fantastic power play kept the pressure up and allowed Luther Burrell to offload to Wilson who, despite being held up short, stretched his arm to place the ball over the line.
Lawes was replaced soon after but had a superb night making tackle after tackle to send a watching Stuart Lancaster a strong message that the lock is back to his best.
And Myler stretched the lead further with a comfortable penalty and his fifth successful kick of the night.
As time slowly dripped away Wasps made some forays of their own into the Saints half but were struggling to turn some promising attacks into points.
Christian Wade was a constant threat as always when given space to run but with the game drawing to a close Saints produced some excellent gain-line defending to make their best-ever start to a Premiership season.