SWINDON St George head coach Ben Whincup was satisfied by his side’s response to the defensive challenge he threw down as they clinched a 34-24 triumph at Somerset Vikings on Saturday.

The Saints moved to the brink of qualifying for the West of England Super Fives semi-finals as Rhys Evans touched down twice, with Stu Hannah, Connor Tomley and Joe Collins also crossing the whitewash, while Evans added the balance of points with the boot.

The result means one win from either the trip to Oxford Cavaliers this coming weekend or the home clash with Reading Raiders the following Saturday would be enough to book Swindon’s place in the end-of-season competition, ticking off the side’s main ambition for the campaign.

Whincup had been less than impressed by the Saints shipping more than 200 points in five previous West of England pool and Super Fives encounters, but despite a further 20-plus being conceded at the weekend, the first-half display did get the thumbs up from the team chief.

“It was about time we put in that sort of performance,’’ said Whincup. “We came out in the first half, having warmed up properly, and it showed.

“We were 18-0 up at half-time. Keeping Somerset scoreless in the first half was brilliant, considering the defensive performances we have had this season.

“I challenged them to improve in that aspect, and they did.’’

A place in the semi-finals is now within reach for St George and Whincup feels that would represent a decent return from this campaign.

“We’ve got two games left and if we beat Oxford on Saturday, that qualifies us for the semi-finals at least," said Whincup.

“It’s very much in our hands now, and if we go out in the final two games and play as we did against Somerset, we should be able to get a result

“The semi-finals was always the target this season, and beyond that is a bonus.

“We’ve been very sketchy, very hit and miss throughout the season, but we’ve had a lot of injuries that have hit us quite hard.

“Given the issues we’ve had up to this point, it’s been fantastic.’’