South Africa winger Courtnall Skosan scored tries number four, six and eight on his Northampton Saints debut
South Africa winger Courtnall Skosan scored the fourth, sixth and eighth tries on his Northampton debut
Northampton Saints (33) 66
Tries: Skosan 3, Mitchell 2, Hutchinson 2, Biggar, Ratuniyarawa, Freeman Cons: Biggar 7, Francis
Worcester (10) 10
Try: Chudley Con: Smith Pen: Smith

Weakened Worcester Warriors suffered a third straight walloping as Northampton Saints ran in 10 tries to coast to victory at Franklin’s Gardens.

After Ollie Lawrence and Willi Heinz both failed fitness tests and Duhan van der Merwe was yellow carded, Warriors were hit by five home first-half tries.

Saints then added five more after the break as South Africa winger Courtnall Skosan completed a debut hat-trick.

Alex Mitchell and Rory Hutchinson each bagged a brace of tries.

Wales and Lions stand-off Dan Biggar, who kicked seven conversions for an individual 19-point haul, lock Api Ratuniyarawa and full-back Tommy Freeman crossed for the Saints’ other three scores.

Worcester managed just one charge-down first-half try from Will Chudley, improved by England Under-20 outside-half Fin Smith, who added a penalty on his first start of the season.

But dispirited Worcester were comprehensively outplayed by Saints, who even had a late breakaway try by lock Alex Coles chalked off. That would have added up to a club record defeat for the Warriors.

As it was, their 56-point losing margin was just a point better than their club record 62-5 defeat by Saracens in January 2020.

They have now shipped 35 tries in six matches this season – 23 of them in the past three games, without suspended club captain Ted Hill, after losing 42-5 at Exeter and 48-3 last week at home to Leicester.

Northampton, who came into the game fresh after a week off, climb to second in the Premiership, within four points of leaders Leicester.

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton:

“There wasn’t much in between – there was about 80% that was pretty decent and about 20% that was horrible.

“If we just get rid of those little hiccups then I thought most of the time we were pretty good for our money.

(On Skosan) “The thing I’ve always liked about Courtney is he’s a glue player as well – he’s a good finisher but he’s good in the air, good going backwards, a good defender – he’s not a blingy player, he’s a solid, good, decent rugby player.

Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

“We have an inability at the moment to do the basics of the game – tackling, kick-chase, rucking, holding the ball in the contact – the stuff that you when you’re a kid.

“We’ve got a lot of adversity in terms of pretty much our whole leadership group is out injured, which is naturally going to effect any team.

“It feels like we’re a bit of a fractured group on the field – not off the field, the boys are working hard each other and are tight – but on the pitch we look very individual.”

Northampton: Freeman; Sleightholme, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Skosan; Biggar, Mitchell; Waller, Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Lawes, Ludlam (capt), Harrison.

Replacements: Haywood, Iyogun, Painter, Wood, Augustus, Lomani, Francis, Coles.

Worcester: Shillcock; Doel, O Morris, Venter, Van der Merwe; Smith, Chudley; Sutherland, Annett, Judge, A Kitchener, G Kitchener, Hatherell, Lewis, Kvesic.

Replacements: Baldwin, Waller, Owlett, Batley, Vailanu, Chudley, Morris, Heward.

Sin-bin: Van der Merwe (7).

Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU).

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