Sunday, October 12, 2008
The Northampton Saints got their European Challenge Cup campaign off to a fantastic start on Thursday night in the south of France as they put 50 points on an understrength Toulon side that were simply never in the match.
The seven try victory announced their return to European action in a big way as they picked up a bonus point win, and a huge confidence boost going into their next round match against Montpellier.
Toulon fielded only one of their nine international players, and it showed as halfbacks Ben Foden and Steve Mylar dominated proceedings, with Foden himself, new at the Saints, having an excellent match.
The three tries shown here were in our view, the best of the match. The first, scored by Joe Ansbro, was sparked by a typical Foden run that tore the defence to pieces before he offloaded to Ansbro in support.
Saints fullback Bruce Reihana worked a piece of magic for the Chris Ashton try, as he himself carved up the Toulon defence then put in the neatest of kicks for Ashton to gather over the line.
The individual try of the match, despite Toulons tired looking players, came from Foden who was in sizzling form as he ran, chipped, and regathered to finish a try that he started 60 meters back.
It was a great away performance by Saints with a few stand out moments of brilliance, but it's early days yet. It's a long European season and this match perhaps shows us that we may see selection experiments and rested players for certain matches being a thing of the norm - resulting in one sided victories such as this. Final score 56-3 to Northampton.