Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd praised the performance of Dan Biggar after the Wales fly-half kicked 20 points to get his side’s Heineken Champions Cup campaign off to a winning start.
Back from his World Cup duties with Wales, Biggar succeeded with six penalties and the conversion of Rory Hutchinson’s try as Saints ran out 25-14 winners over Lyon at Franklin’s Gardens.
Boyd said: “Dan is the best in the world at what he does. The box-kicking of Cobus (Reinach) with Dan’s chasing takes a lot of stopping.
“It was particularly pleasing that Dan and the other World Cup returnees fitted in so well as they are all good men and want to play for the club and their contributions today were important.”
An impressive first-half performance from Saints had seen them build a 22-0 lead but Lyon dominated the second half with replacement Thibaut Regard scoring two tries, both of which Jonathan Wisniewski converted.
Boyd said: “We controlled the game in the first half and if we had been a bit more clinical, we would have been further ahead.
“We let them back into it, not for the first time we’ve allowed opponents to do so, as we sat on the lead but credit to them for their comeback.
“We knew we had to be top draw to beat them as I enjoy the way they play. They have a great style of rugby, both in attack and defence.
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“They weren’t at their best today and the game didn’t rise to the spectacle I would have hoped for.”
Next up for Northampton in Europe is a trip to Treviso next weekend.
Boyd said: “I went down to Cardiff for the tournament launch and all the coaches warned me at how tough it is to go there.
“They’ve only lost once at home this season, in a close one to Leinster early doors, and we are certainly not going down there to look at the sights.
“Had we lost today, it would have made it very hard for us to progress in this tournament. We wouldn’t have given up but it would have been difficult.”
Man of the match Biggar said: “I thought the first half was probably the best we’ve played all season but the second half turned into a bit of an arm-wrestle.
“We weren’t accurate enough in that second half but it’s a really good result for us.
“I’ve played in Treviso a lot with Ospreys in the Pro 14 and we are in for a tough afternoon as the crowd are always on top of you.”
Training ramps up a gear as the team hits the gym to complete their final phase of strength work, while the leadership group provides critical analysis of the recent victory against Auckland Grammar.
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