Tom Vickers’ Northampton Saints v Bath review and player ratings

DETERMINED - Alex Corbisiero did Luis Ghaut proud with a big performance for Saints against Bath (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)
DETERMINED - Alex Corbisiero did Luis Ghaut proud with a big performance for Saints against Bath (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)

At the conclusion of the minute’s applause, Alex Corbisiero raised his arms and looked to the sky.

It was an emotive image on an emotive afternoon at Franklin’s Gardens, where Luis Ghaut, the 13-year-old who sadly passed away on Tuesday, was fondly remembered.

Corbisiero was one of the closest to the youngster, who had become an inspiration to his favourite team.

And there was a steely determination in the eyes of the England prop - and his team-mates, who donned black armbands - to do Luis proud on Saturday.

They did.

They produced a performance packed with desire.

From the indefatigable attacking that brought four tries, to the defensive drive that resisted wave after wave of late pressure.

Bath, to their credit, kept fighting and came close to salvaging a draw from the match.

It took Dylan Hartley, a picture of the hunger in the home team, to prevent a dramatic denouement occuring as he thwarted a late scoring opportunity.

But it was only right that the victory went the way of Saints, even if the day was about much more than the result.

And Hartley was quick to dedicate the win to Luis in his post-match interview.

In terms of what happened in the heat of the on-pitch battle, this was a real statement of intent from Saints.

They may have already thrashed Gloucester and Newcastle, but Bath are a team who look likely to be serious challengers this season.

So beating them was important, to assert the authority of champions and simply to keep the points column ticking over.

It was a huge team effort from Saints and even though they left the door ajar in the final 20 minutes, they were brutal in shutting it in Bath faces at the end.

That is the mark of a top side: that they can get over the line, however difficult that may be.

And on a day when Saints wanted and needed to show immense physical and mental resilience, they did.

As Lee, the father of Luis, told me: “It was a fitting tribute to Luis. He would have been very proud.”

Little more needs to be said.

How they rated...


The full-back looked to be back to his rapier-sharp best as he put on a fantastic display that Bath found too hot to handle... 8


The Samoan zips around the park, refusing to give the opposition a second and one huge first-half hit led to a try... 7


A huge display from the centre, whose power pushed Saints forward. He capped a fine afternoon with a deserved score... 8


England will struggle to look past the sizeable frame of this man in the autumn as he continues to lay down a marker for his club... 7


Some of his takes from the high ball were a joy to behold and his presence proved hugely unsettling for Bath... 7


The fly-half was back in the team after missing the win at Newcastle and he was typically assured with the boot as well as pulling the strings with some nice flat passes... 7


Another sparky display from the scrum-half, whose energy is key to the breathless attacking game exhibited by this team... 7


Used the emotion of events earlier in the week to fuel his performance and he was impressive throughout... 7


The captain’s tireless display drove Saints on until the last and his late heroics to deny a Bath try were vital... 8


Played his part in a huge scrummaging performance that stopped Bath gaining any first-half momentum... 7


Came in at late notice for Courtney Lawes and aside from a bit of a defensive error for the first Bath try, he performed well... 7


A big performance from the lock, who got his name on the scoresheet and was a vital component in a gargantuan forward effort... 8


Another impressive showing from the flanker, who was crucial in halting Bath surges and who also grabbed a try... 8


What a catch this man is for Saints. The hip-hop enthusiast hit all the right notes in this game, with an all-action display that made him a real contender for man of the match... 8


Completed a back row that was definitely on top of the opposition and his trademark power proved important once again... 7

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

A WALLER (for Corbisiero 51)

Came on for Corbisiero and did his best to keep the scrum dominance going, although Bath did eventually fight back in that department... 6

L DICKSON (for Fotuali’i 56)

Some of his kicking wasn’t quite as accurate as Saints would have liked and the home team just lost their impetus as Bath showed resolve to respond... 6