Rugby LV= Cup: Saints’ delight as cup tie turns into an LV unequal struggle for hapless Wasps

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Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder enjoyed his side’s ruthlessness in attack as they booked an LV= Cup semi-final place with a devastating eight-try thrashing of London Wasps.

The Saints have a home tie against the Scarlets to look forward to next month after wingers Noah Cato and Jamie Elliott both scored twice in this emphatic 57-10 victory.

The Welsh side’s trip to Franklin’s Gardens will be Northampton’s third semi-final appearance in four years, and Mallinder was delighted with his team’s display after last weekend’s 46-14 defeat at Bath.

Mallinder said: “We defended well and we attacked with a good intensity. We looked after the ball well and worked hard and scored some very good tries.

“I’m delighted to hear Sale have done a job for us against the Scarlets as it means we have a home semi.”

Northampton had the result wrapped up before half-time as tries by Andy Long, James Craig and Elliott gave them a 22-3 lead before a penalty try secured them the bonus point.

Cato ran in his first before Elliott scored again and, after Joe Simpson’s consolation, Alex Waller and Cato added some extra gloss.

Wasps forwards coach Trevor Woodman said: “We had to field players to have a good look at them - Victor (Gresev) and Vladislav (Korshunov) only arrived this week. We lose Victor again next week so we wanted to see him for 80 minutes but it’s hard to find any other positives after that result.”

n Leicester chief Richard Cockerill insisted Toby Flood was fit and ready for an England return after coming through the final 30 minutes of the Tigers’ semi-final-clinching LV= Cup defeat of Newcastle.

The 26-year-old, who finished the World Cup as England’s first-choice stand-off, has been sidelined since New Year’s Day with a knee injury but returned to help defeat his former club 24-13 and put himself in contention to face Italy on 11 February.

Cockerill also confirmed that centre Manu Tuilagi was due back in full training this week but lock Louis Deacon’s season looks over.

He said: “Toby will go and train with England early next week, and it is up to [England coach] Stuart Lancaster to decide if he wants him to stay with them or to let him play for us over the next couple of weeks.”

He added: “It was a muted crowd and a bit of a muted performance, but it is a case of job done. Newcastle are trying to build a side and a game-plan, but the penalty count was horrendously against them and they were probably fortunate to receive only one yellow card.”

• Worcester head coach Richard Hill praised his team for keeping up their fine home record as they completed their LV= Cup campaign with a 24-14 win over Ospreys at Sixways. Neither side will progress to the semi-finals, but for Worcester there was the consolation of recording a fourth straight home win since the start of the year.