Chris Boyd had mixed feelings after his Northampton side ended their winless start to the season with a Boxing Day triumph over Worcester at Franklin’s Gardens.
An early penalty try was added to by scores from Alex Mitchell, Dan Biggar and Mike Haywood as Boyd’s men wrapped up a bonus-point 29-10 victory which lifted them from the foot of the table to sixth.
The win was also Saints’ first at home in the Premiership in 2020 but while the result pleased their director of rugby, aspects of the performance left him in no doubt there remains plenty to work on.
“Obviously, we’re pleased to get a couple of monkeys off our back and get five points in the Premiership, which is really important,” he said.
“But the reality is that we played better last week and probably the week before as well.
“I don’t want to be the Christmas grinch – we were certainly pleased to get the five points at home but it was far from as good as we can play.”
Saints had lost all eight domestic home matches in 2020 prior to kick-off – and had not won anywhere since August – but started on the front foot.
Matt Proctor’s pass was deliberately knocked on by Melani Nanai for the penalty try before the influential Biggar set Mitchell free for Saints’ second try either side of Billy Searle’s score.
Saints leave it late to claim their first Prem home win of 2020 ???https://t.co/9mtO5XWCtW
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 26, 2020
After spending time in the sin-bin early in the second period, Biggar returned to the fray to cross on 65 minutes before Haywood powered over late on to seal the bonus point.
“I’ve been incredibly proud of the way the boys have stuck together,” Boyd said. “They’re a good crew and I really enjoy working with them.
“We’ve started coming back to find the light but one swallow doesn’t make a summer so we’ve got to find a way to back that up.”
The beaten Warriors will end the year bottom of the Premiership and remain without a win since the opening day.
Searle scored all the visitors’ points in a losing cause and Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons identified Saints’ cutting edge as the difference.
“They closed out their opportunities and we didn’t close out ours,” he said.
“The game ended with us having two opportunities to score and we knocked the ball on over the tryline.
“The scoreline is not a reflection of that game, but they are fine margins in these games and when you get an opportunity, you need to nail it.
“I’m pretty confident we’ll be able to do it in future. If we weren’t creating opportunities I’d be a bit concerned but we are.
“We are practising well and it will come – we’ve just got to stick at it.”
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