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Dickens hails Saints depth

Northampton defence coach Alan Dickens admitted the strength of the bench made a major impact as the Saints beat Scarlets 24-7 in the LV= Cup.

The English champions produced a powerful second-half display, aided by the arrival of England squad members Lee Dickson and Calum Clark, who had been released by national coach Stuart Lancaster for the game.

"We are in a really fortunate position to have players coming back from their international camps and wanting to play for the club," said Dickens.

"To have those boys coming on in the second half and the likes of Alex Waller and Salesi Ma'afu to add to the scrum, it did make a difference."

He added: "It was a tough game. I thought we were a bit sloppy in the first half, the Scarlets put us under pressure and forced us into errors.

"We addressed that at half time, were pretty tight and we dominated field position. Credit to the boys for putting it right on the field.

"I was also pleased with last few minutes. For us to chase back 70 metres after an interception and make a tackle just short, especially with the game won, it showed the type of character we have."

Scarlets coach Ioan Cunningham, who has been handed the reins for this tournament, admitted a high error count and ill-discipline cost his side dear.

"We were encouraged at half-time considering the amount of errors we made in the first half," he said.

"We were excited going into the second half to correct those errors and get some tempo and urgency into our game.

"But we just made too many mistakes and our discipline was poor. I think the penalty count was something like 19 to seven which didn't help and they camped down in our half for a period and we gave them too many opportunities to score a driving line-out which they did.

"It was hard in that second half to get any sort of foothold in the game.

"We tried late on to get that tempo, which shows what we can do with a bit of urgency in our game."


From Belfast Telegraph