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What Northampton made of Skosan, their hat-trick debut-making wing

By PA
(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

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Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd has praised the all-round game of winger Courtnall Skosan, who marked his Premiership debut with a hat-trick of tries in his new team’s 66-10 thrashing of Worcester. The twelve-cap former Springboks back signed for Saints from the Lions during the summer but had to wait for his Friday night bow at Franklin’s Gardens after completing his quarantine upon arrival in the UK.

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It was certainly worth that delay as Skosan played a full part in handing Worcester a ten-try drubbing, with a spectacular diving finish in the corner for his second Northampton score the stand-out moment. Boyd said: “He is a good man and he has been a good footballer for a long time – and he is not just a finisher either.

“He got three tries and all of them were pretty decent finishes, but he was busy around the paddock and was good in the air. He is a good defender, he works hard. He is a quality footballer – that is why he has played so many times for his country.

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“By and large, we were pretty decent. There are still some rough edges that we need to smooth out, but I thought we were pretty good for our money most of the time. We knew if we hung on to the ball, went through our process and didn’t get impatient and try to stay in our system, then we would get some opportunities.”

Northampton had the bonus point wrapped up inside half an hour, as Dan Biggar, Alex Mitchell, Api Ratuniyarawa, Skosan and Rory Hutchinson all scored in the first half, with Will Chudley replying for Worcester. Skosan completed his treble after the break, while there were two tries for Tommy Freeman and another for Mitchell.

Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas said: “At the moment we have got a lot of adversity. Pretty much our whole leadership group is out injured, which is naturally going to affect any team. Melani Nanai, Owen Williams, Willi Heinz, Ted Hill, Ollie Lawrence, guys like that. We always talk about the guys that come in getting opportunities and what it feels like at the moment is we are a little bit of a fractured group on the field.

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“Off the field, the boys are working hard for each other, but the game is about 15 players working as one and we look very individual. They had lightning-quick ball, but the biggest thing is we gifted them about six tries – two intercepts, the kick-chase they catch it and go straight through, and a quick tap for the first try of the game. It felt like Saints weren’t even working that hard.”

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