Northampton Saints 59 Newcastle Falcons 33: Tom Vickers' review and player ratings

Taqele Naiyaravoro caused Newcastle problems (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Taqele Naiyaravoro caused Newcastle problems (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

It's not easy getting out of bed on a Saturday morning - and that certainly seemed to be the case for Saints.

But when they did finally wake from their slumber, they were far too alive for Newcastle Falcons who became the latest team to feel the full force of Chris Boyd's men.

It's now 39 tries in just four games for Saints, who can look forward to a Premiership Rugby Cup final against old foes Saracens at Franklin's Gardens next month.

And the confidence just keeps coursing through the veins of a team who have been told to stick to an ambitious game plan, even during the toughest times.

The coaches do not want the default mode to be conservatism, and that showed once again on Saturday.

Instead of going into their shells at 21-0 down, Saints kept trying to play the way they have been asked to throughout Boyd's first season in charge.

And eventually, when they finally got their game together, it worked out perfectly for them.

Newcastle struggled to come up with solutions to the pace and precision of the play, which was led by the likes of Rory Hutchinson and George Furbank.

The youthful exuberance those players showed has become a theme under Boyd, and they were given a platform by senior stars such as Tom Wood and Jamie Gibson, who just kept making good decisions and timely contributions.

Once the foundations were laid, Saints went from useless to unstoppable.

And the character they showed will be a huge positive for the men in charge of them.

There is still much to work on, because if Saints allow Saracens to get into the kind of lead Newcastle enjoyed, there will be no coming back on the big day at the Gardens in March.

But this should work as a warning not only for the final, but also for the big league games ahead.

Saints had a weekend off going into the game against Newcastle and it took them time to flick the switch back on.

But once they did, we saw more evidence of the class they possess in attack.

And they're nothing if not entertaining!

Fans are certainly getting value for money if tries are what they want, and this unpredictable team is getting backsides off seats.

At some point, they must ditch the unpredictability and become predictably good, just as Saracens and Exeter have done over recent years.

But for now, Boyd and Co are in the infancy of their building process at the Gardens, and the early signs are good.

And if they can cap this campaign with or trophy it really would be a slick start from this new-look coaching staff and talented young squad.

How they rated...


The young full-back just continues to go from strength to strength, impressing every time he takes to the field, with this razor-sharp showing close to earning him man of the match... 9

Had some tough times defensively early on, like many of his team-mates, but there was no doubting what he offered in attack as he scored his first try of the season... 7

Pulled the strings all day, masterminding the Saints comeback with a sensational try assist that was followed by many more key passes and contributions... 9

The scrum cap certainly seems to suit him as he put in another good performance full of physicality which included some nice handling as well as a tidy try... 8

Had some difficult moments defensively, stepping in to let Falcons in down the outside, but in attack he was an absolute menace with some huge carries... 7

Was beaten by Vereniki Goneva for an early try but bounced back really well, making some important defensive contributions and leading the attack well... 7

Wasn't able to have his standard influence on proceedings as he had gone off by the time Saints started to get a real grip of the game... 6

The prop has been impressing for Saints this season and he again popped up to make some useful contributions here... 6

Grabbed himself another try as his strong season continued, and he enjoyed involving himself in the attacking picture... 7

Was unfortunate to find himself isolated for an early Falcons score, but didn't do too badly and more than held his own in the scrum... 6

Turned up the power as he desperately tried to push Newcastle back in another strong showing... 7

Made some huge hits and continually made metres with ball in hand as he showcased his physicality once again... 8

A hugely influential performance from the seasoned back row forward as he pinched lineouts, made key tackles, provided assists and even scored a try of his own... 9

Another all-action showing from the flanker, who looked determined to drive his team back into the game after a difficult start... 9

Had no time to really make an impact as a tight hamstring forced him off after just eight minutes

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

TOM WOOD (for Harrison 8)

Looked hungry for action and really helped Saints to turn the tide with some big carries and, notably, some superb offloads which led to tries... 9

ALEX MITCHELL (for Reinach 50)
Added some extra life to Saints and can be pleased with how his 30 minutes on the field went... 7

ALEX WALLER (for van Wyk 53)
Came on to make his 250th Saints appearance, which is a superb milestone, and he celebrated with a win... 6

REECE MARSHALL (for Fish 53)
Looked desperate to get involved at every turn, eagerly making hits and trying to push his team forward with ball in hand... 6

PAUL HILL (for Painter 53)
A good chance to get back in action for the tighthead prop, who will now hope to kick on in the Premiership matches to come... 6

Luther Burrell was in the thick of the action

Luther Burrell was in the thick of the action

Ahsee Tuala scored his first try of the season

Ahsee Tuala scored his first try of the season

James Grayson was on kicking duties

James Grayson was on kicking duties

Tom Wood was hugely influential after coming off the bench early on

Tom Wood was hugely influential after coming off the bench early on