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A feast of tries but the takeaways are more exciting

Saints 28 – 54 Saracens - Pictures from the Premiership Cup by Dave Ikin

It was a replay of the final that saw Saints trading punches with the big dog of the Premiership for an hour and ultimately Saracens won the arm wrestle.

However even if Saints had come away with the bragging rights it would still have been the performances of some of the squad’s new faces we were most pleased about.

Henry Taylor at scrum-half looks like the best kind of problem – for opposition defences and for Saints selection meetings. He has come charging out of the blocks with Cobus Reinach on international duty and Alex Mitchell nursing a knee injury.

A passing physical resemblance to Saints former full-back Ben Foden was matched with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Alex Lozowski a score.

At 12 Andrew Symons looks like a beast and can count himself harshly yellow carded for ‘provoking’ Charlie Watson into kicking him in the face. Yes Symons was holding him in the ruck far too long and far too obviously but referee Craig Maxwell-Keys might ask himself if he would have reached for the card if that was the only offence at that ruck. It seems like he felt the need to appease Saracens for the sending off when really – in an era where concussion is public enemy number one – a kick in the head leaves him no options.

Ryan Olowofela has wings on his boots and eats up the yards when he gets a chance to pin back his ears – a break from him allowed Symons to crash through the Sarries last line of defence and score.

It’s a mark of James Grayson’s progress that he exudes confidence as a senior player in a set up like this and the other seniors also performed well, with Dave Ribbans celebrating his new contract with a try.

If anything the score flatters Saracens who clocked up points in the final stages of the game, reassuring themselves that their points machine still functions as it should.

The takeaway for Saints should be about the exciting strength in depth and the players who might even stake a claim for international honours in the Six Nations in the likely event that national squads need refreshing after the World Cup.

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