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Merci Saints - no mercy shown

Merci Saints! For the first time this season I haven’t felt that my blood pressure medication might need to be upped. As supporters we have been pleading for the lads to “just win “ which is exactly what they did on Friday night.

I say “just win” but this was a victory far more emphatic than that. No playing catch-up rugby this week poor Bayonne were shown no mercy and put to the sword from the outset. From one to 23 the Saints boys played their part to carve out a sublime 61-14 victory.

On the pitch the team purred like a Rolls Royce engine starting with a magical kick ahead from Rory Hutchinson, beautifully weighted to put Tommy Freeman in a great place to use his power and strength to snatch the first try with the clock barely registering the first minute. Fin Smith was accurate with the extras.

And from then on it was a procession of tries, and nearly tries. Poor Curtis Langdon experienced the highs of congratulations from his team mates and the applause of the crowd only to plunge into the lows of a try crossed off for a knock-on in a previous ruck – it was going to be that sort of an evening for Curtis.

Successful sorties across the whitewash then came from Tom Pearson charging onto a superb tap from Alex Coles who read the Bayonne line-out move like a well loved novel. Tom Pearson was in action again following a move into the 22 from Tommy Freeman.  The only two Toms on the pitch keeping up the Tom-impact that we have seen all season.

Bayonne’s cause was not helped by a yellow card to their young prop for a tip tackle on Sam Graham. But Maxime Machenaud raised the visitors hopes when he intercepted a pass but actually provided a comedy gold moment when he realised that his legs hadn’t got the speed in them that they used to have and that not only was he unsupported by his team mates but the thunder of hooves he could hear belonged to Courtney Lawes and Tommy Freeman. The inevitable happened and not only did the GOAT win the breakdown penalty he then launched himself over the line to score.

Curtis Langdon was then managed to get on the score sheet under a pile of bodies from a rolling maul and not be outdone his front row comrade Alex Waller scored his 26th try for the Saints following a quick tap penalty.

With Fin Smith being deadly accurate with the boot Saints strolled inot the changing rooms 42-0 up. At this point my heart went out to the Bayonne supporters – they were in a situation that we Saints faithful know so well – on the road in Europe and looking like your team hasn’t a clue. And as a lifelong Saints supporter there is always the nagging fear that we will shut up shop and let them back in – a fear that is receding as the season wears on, however.

Bayonne came out first – whether they just wanted the whole sorry episode over as soon as possible or to escape from hair-dryer treatment in the changing rooms I don’t know but they had to bounce around by themselves before even the reffing team joined them.

And basically the second half was more of the same – a quick try from Pearson gave him his hat-trick – Fin Smith missed the conversion. He was back on track tho when Alex Waller got his second try. Then Saints emptied the bench to keep the tempo of the game up. It all became a little loose and only a tough defence from replacement Tom James stopped Machenaud from getting the ball down across the line.  Bayonne did get off the zero minutes later when Thomas Spring sprang through to score.

Saints had not finished the torture yet and Furbs waltzed through the Bayonne defence, followed by a charge from Augustus and Tom James was in under the posts – no problem for the boot of Fin with that one.

Bayonne had the last word with a try in the dying minutes... but it was barely a whisper lost in the hubbub of celebrating Saints.

Tommy Freeman was Player of the Match but in announcing it the cameraman lingered on Curtis on the bench and those around him were congratulating him on the award – only for it to go elsewhere, and how they all laughed!

The victory secured a home tie in the next round which is knock-out. If we win at Munster and go on to win the knock-out round we will have a home tie for the round after that.....which maybe a quarter final.....I’m not really sure with this complex set-up.

Anyway onwards to Munster and as I have said before – if anyone can do it – we can......COYS!

Huge congratulations to the eight players named in Six Nations Squads. Hutch with Scotland and the magnificent seven (yes seven) with England: Mitch, Fin Smith, Furbs, Tommy Freeman, Fraser Dingwall, Alex Coles and Tom Pearson. All richly deserved.

Thanks as always to Claire Jones at Redhat photos for the pictures and if you want to hear ramblings to add to the witterings take a look at Ladies Wot Pod  or listen to on Spotify


Curtis Langdon on a mission - played another high tempo game with a try to his name.


Coming total three times! Tom Pearson like a bullet train. Looking at this photo I'm not convinced that Bayonne player is fully committed to making that tackle.


Fraser Dingwall - fluid in attack and solid in defence......


Does this really need a caption? The GOAT himself about to score his second try this season.


Doing the hard yards - Trevor Davison had a storming time around the park.


The Maestro - Tommy Freeman conducting the squad in the Shoe Army song...

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