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Dickens: Manoa display no surprise

Northampton assistant coach Alan Dickens insisted Samu Manoa's impressive second-half showing came as no surprise to him after the American's two tries saw off Saracens in the LV= Cup.

Manoa crossed twice in the second half to add to James Wilson's early converted score in a game that saw Saracens and the Saints repeatedly swap the lead before the home side won out 20-16.

The result means Northampton will have home advantage when the two sides meet again at the semi-final stage in early March and Dickens is relishing their next meeting.

"We've had some good games against Saracens recently so we'll look forward to the semi- final," said Dickens, who also hailed Manoa's display..

"Samu has played really this year. He had last week off and it was some performance today scoring two tries.

"Samu's put in some great performances this year and it wasn't something that was out of the blue. He puts in great performances, week in week out."

Dickens is also pleased with the performances of some of Northampton's up-and-coming players who have been given a chance in the LV= Cup, adding: " We've been away to London Irish and Newport in this competition and it's been really good to blood some of the younger lads.

"They've stepped up and it's been really pleasing from a coaching perspective."

Saracens had led 10-7 at half-time and 16-15 with 15 minutes remaining and backs coach Kevin Sorrell insisted his side would be looking to make amends in the semi-final.

He said: "We're glad that we're coming back here (in the semi-finals) because we'll get the chance to right some wrongs.

"We feel we didn't put in our best performance today but fair play to Northampton - they put us under pressure and came out on the right side of the result.

"It gives us an opportunity to come back and do something we didn't do here today.

"We had some good opportunities in the first half. We had some attacking lineouts.

"It was difficult with the wind to get good field position, but we had some opportunities and got a try through Ben (Spencer) before half-time and went in 10-7 up.

"It was positive at half-time but they managed to get their try after half-time and we worked our way back in.

"We had the lead, but it's just frustrating that we couldn't hold out there at the end."

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