Pisi’s pacy tricks too sharp for Dragons

The Rugby Paper - - Anglo-welsh Cup - ■ By ROB WILDMAN

KEN PISI set alight Northamp­ton last night to help his team end a mis­er­able run of five de­feats.

Two mem­o­rable mo­ments from the speedy Samoan set­tled this Anglo Welsh tie in favour of the Saints by six tries to one.

Northamp­ton led 12-0 at the break and found their stride in the sec­ond half.

Pisi burst clear from his own half to score Northamp­ton’s first try in the sec­ond half af­ter he grabbed a pass off Dragons fly half Ar­wel Rob­son.

His run saw him sprint some 60 me­tres to beat the Dragons cover. His next trick was a cheeky jink which opened the way for a try by scrum-half Cobus Reinach.

Two min­utes later Tom Wood scored Northamp­ton’s third try in an 11-minute burst start­ing when Pisi shot clear in the 49th. The pace and pre­ci­sion of Saints was too much for a young Dragons team try­ing also to re-build con­fi­dence af­ter a trounc­ing by Mun­ster last week.

Phil Dow­son, Northamp­ton’s as­sis­tant coach, sin­gled Reinach as his team’s star man and for the way he is set­tling into life at the Gar­dens.

And an­other player to im­press the for­mer Saints cap­tain in his new role was hooker Reece Mar­shall who scored one of two firsthalf tries.

Dow­son said: “We an­tic­i­pated that it would be close at half-time and that we needed to be pa­tient. In the end we won well.”

Hen­dre Mar­nitz, Dragons’ de­fence coach, felt the score­line did not re­flect the ef­fort of the Dragons.

“We are a young team and we have to learn that we can­not switch off and have soft mo­ments against such strong teams.”

Northamp­ton did not dom­i­nate a first half which fea­tured 17 line-outs. It was stop-start stuff, es­pe­cially in the first 20 min­utes.

Dragons proved stern op­po­nents and de­fended ro­bustly to en­joy good pos­ses­sion them­selves.

How­ever, it was Northamp­ton who struck first, pres­sure bring­ing a try out wide for wing Juan Pablo Estelles in the 16th minute.

He ac­cepted Harry Mallinder’s pass af­ter the Saints had built steadily from a way­ward vis­it­ing line-out.

Dragons’ best chance of a first-half try came when scrum-half Char­lie Davies was stopped just short.

And it needed a knock down from Mallinder to stop an­other promis­ing at­tack on the right flank.

Northamp­ton did fin­ish the half in charge and an­other wave of pres­sure earned a sec­ond try.

This time hooker Mar­shall was driven over af­ter a num­ber of at­tempts. Stephen Myler con­verted for a Northamp­ton lead of 12-0 at half-time.

The sec­ond half was far more one-sided. Af­ter Myler had added a penalty three min­utes into the half, the home speed­sters took over.

Pisi was the in­spi­ra­tional fig­ure, dash­ing 60 me­tres for his team’s third try which Myler con­verted.

Though cen­tre Joe Thomas swiftly ran onto a good grub­ber by scrumhalf Davies for the Dragon’s only try, Northamp­ton went from first gear to top very quickly.

Reinach and Wood fin­ished off slick moves and the sixth try of the night came from re­place­ment scrum-half Alex Mitchell, his first for the club.

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

He’s in: Juan Pablo Estelles scores Saints first try de­spite the ef­forts of Joe Good­child

Out­stand­ing: Cobus Reinach on the at­tack for Saints

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