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Match reaction: Northampton Saints 41 Dragons 7

Match reaction: Northampton Saints 41 Dragons 7

Northampton Saints got back to winning ways to notch up their first Anglo-Welsh Cup victory of the season and arrest a run of five defeats in all competitions.

The hosts blew the Dragons away in the second half at Franklin’s Gardens, scoring three tries to win 41-7.

Saints led 12-0 at the break, with first Juan Pablo Estelles scoring his second try in as many weeks in the competition before hooker Reece Marshall scored his first points in a Saints shirt.

But after the break Northampton clicked through the gears; Ken Pisi kicked things off as he picked off a loose pass and scored himself.

The lightning-fast Cobus Reinach added another from Michael Paterson’s offload, Tom Wood was set up by Harry Mallinder’s brilliant run down the left, and Alex Mitchell rounded things off after Ben Nutley’s powerful drive.

Saints head back into Aviva Premiership Rugby action next week away to Worcester Warriors, and this result is just what the doctor ordered.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Cobus Reinach was imperious at scrum-half for the Saints, and now looks to be settling into life at Franklin’s Gardens nicely.

He capped off a thrilling display with the try that secured the bonus point; Pisi broke and with Paterson in hot pursuit, the lock took over and offloaded to the South African who held off the last man’s tackle to complete a brilliant score.

TRY OF THE MATCH

Estelles opened the scoring in fine style after Saints had dominated the early exchanges.

Dragons overthrew a lineout and the Saints pounced clinically, with Mallinder’s cheeky backhander setting up the Argentinian for a strong finish.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

The first score was always going to be key after the break with the score finely poised at 12-0, but Pisi’s effort ensured there would be no Saints fans biting their nails in the stands.

The Samoan intercepted a loose pass in the Dragons midfield and sprinted all of 60 metres on his own in the 50th minute to put Northampton out of sight.

WHAT THEY SAID

Northampton Saints assistant coach Phil Dowson said: “We needed to turn the momentum around.

“We’d had a pretty poor month, so we needed to change that and get back on the horse, and the lads did that.

“We stood up and now we need to take that win and push forward. This should give us some momentum going into next week.

“Alex Mitchell did really well, likewise [Alex] Moon off the bench. Reece Marshall brought energy and he’s been champing at the bit, which puts pressure on Dylan [Hartley] and Mikey Haywood.

“It was great to see the young guys stepping up and then you look at other guys like Juan [Pablo Estelles] on the wing and Sam Dickinson stepping up. It was a really good team effort.

“[Cobus Reinach is] lightning fast. He’s just beginning to find his feet because he hasn’t been at the club long and he’s starting to find his way in the system. He’s in and playing well.”

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