Northampton player ratings: ‘Classy’ England half-backs show international quality to propel Saints into Champions Cup semi-finals

Colin Newboult
Northampton Saints against the Bulls in the Champions Cup in 2024.

Fin Smith in action for Northampton Saints against the Bulls in the Champions Cup in 2024.

Following a comfortable 59-22 victory over the Bulls in their Investec Champions Cup clash at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, here are the player ratings for Northampton Saints.

15 James Ramm: Terrific once again, one bad moment under the high ball aside. Touched down twice and consistently made metres with ball in hand. 9

14 George Hendy: Not quite as impactful as last weekend against Munster, but still did several good things with ball in hand. 6

13 Tommy Freeman: We like what Freeman offers at centre and once again he made ground, but other players will rightfully take the headlines this time around. 7

12 Fraser Dingwall: Linked play nicely in the midfield. Not a flashy player but incredibly good at the basics in both attack and defence. 7

11 Ollie Sleightholme: Outstanding finish for his try which typified a performance where the Bulls struggled to bring him to ground throughout this Champions Cup clash. 8

Classy half-backs

10 Fin Smith: Classy, classy display from the very gifted 21-year-old. His passing and decision-making was sublime as the Saints regularly cut the opposition defence apart. 9

9 Alex Mitchell: Perhaps tough to mark down after a bad five minutes, but his intercept pass let the Bulls back into the game, while there were a couple of other bad decisions. However, after that, he was exceptional and played a big part in their much better second half display. 8

Planet Rugby player ratings key 10 - Career defining performance 9 - Outright blockbuster effort 8 - Significantly influenced the result of the game 7 - Committed and effective outing 6 - Flashes of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals 5 - Fulfilling the role required by position (base level) 4 - Poor execution of fundamentals 3 - Costly errors and/or discipline in the game 2 - Poor performance that directly impacted the result 1 - Grossly ineffective throughout 0 - Should have carried water instead

Planet Rugby’s player ratings key.

8 Juarno Augustus: Carried hard throughout and enjoyed sending his fellow South Africans onto their backsides. Augustus gave Northampton plenty of front foot ball. 8

7 Sam Graham: An abrasive back-row who does some excellent work around the contact area, but he did miss a few tackles. 6

6 Courtney Lawes (c): Never seems to have a bad game and once again thrived in this excellent Saints side. Never stopped working and his carrying game was exemplary. 8

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Shining in the loose

5 Alex Coles: A very talented player who is not far from becoming an England regular. Physicality at the very highest level is perhaps the big question mark, but in games like this he excels. 8

4 Alex Moon: Solid shift in the lineout and on defence, but it was his locking team-mate that stole the show in the engine room. 6

3 Trevor Davison: Almost scored an opportunistic try after running on to his fly-half’s kick, but was denied by his opposite number, Mornay Smith. Did his core duties but it was the bench who made the impact at the set-piece. 6

2 Curtis Langdon: Not quite as spectacular as last weekend, but the hooker was still impressive. A very mobile forward, he has superb footwork and is difficult to bring to ground. Lineout work was also solid. 7

1 Emmanuel Iyogun: A bad mistake, when he was stripped of the ball from the restart, led to the Bulls’ first try, but he improved after that. Not his best day at the office as such but ended in credit. 6

Replacements: The replacement props, Alex Waller and Paul Hill, were magnificent in the scrum, while Lewis Ludlam was a ubiquitous presence, both with and without the ball. Angus Scott-Young and Tom James also made decent impressions. 8

READ MORE: Nine-try Northampton Saints hammer depleted Bulls to set up Champions Cup semi-final with Leinster