Boyd salutes Grayson and Harrison after Saints sink the Sharks

Chris Boyd saluted James Grayson for the way the fly-half grabbed his opportunity in Saints' 17-14 win against Sale Sharks on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 7:38 pm
James Grayson

Grayson was in fine form from the tee, landing 12 crucial points as his team secured a vital Gallagher Premiership success at Franklin's Gardens.

The 24-year-old hadn't played since the win at Wasps on February 6, with George Furbank having been preferred at fly-half.

But Grayson was back in the starting 15 and running the show as Saints secured a gritty win against a Sale side who refused to give up at 14-0 and 17-7 down.

"His kicking was significant in the game - I thought he kicked particularly well at the posts," Boyd said.

"And I thought he marshalled the troops and controlled the game well as well.

"We lost a little bit of our structure at times.

"Tom James kicked exceptionally well in the first half and they put a bit more pressure in the second half and we probably needed to make an adjustment and do a bit more kicking at 10.

"Generally I thought Jimmy was very good and I'm very pleased for him.

"He's had a bit of time out of the group, where he wasn't getting what he wanted, and he got an opportunity and took it well."

Another player making his return to the Saints starting 15 was Teimana Harrison, who hadn't featured since the Boxing Day win against Worcester Warriors due to injury.

Harrison scored a first-half try and soldiered on for 80 minutes to help steer Saints to victory.

"Mince (Harrison) was good," Boyd said.

"Once Luds (Lewis Ludlam) unfortunately got his head on the wrong side of a tackle with (Lood) de Jager, we weren't able to give Mince any rest and he battled away.

"It's only his third game of the season and to play 80 minutes at that quality shows a good mark of the man."

Saints looked in control when they went 14-0 up but Sale showed their fighting spirit and were just three points down when they tried to mount one final attack with the clock in the red.

There was a lengthy period of pressure put on Saints close to halfway, but they defended resolutely to deny Alex Sanderson's side the chance to win the game.

"We're obviously very pleased to get four points here," Boyd said.

"The fact we came under considerable pressure and managed to navigate our way out of it - we've lost those kinds of games in the last 12 months - was very pleasing.

"In the second half we were trying to be clinically accurate in the back third, patient in the middle third and ruthless in the final third and we didn't achieve what we were looking for.

"Their two tries came from field position we gifted them with ill-discipline and part of playing against a big team like Sale who are going to come at you physically is keeping them out of that last quarter because once they get in there their conversion rate is pretty high.

"I'm disappointed we gave them a chance to score 14 points but I'm very pleased we negotiated our way home in a fairly strong breeze."