SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook was proud of the effort of his young side today in London – and re-iterated his view that it was the right time to leave players out and give youth a chance.

The Super League leaders went down 32-12 to relegation-threatened London Broncos in a game that was nip-and-tuck at the hour mark.

Saints had trailed to an early try from ex-Saint Matty Fleming before Aaron Smith levelled.

However, on the back of a harsh penalty for a tackle into touch, London hit the front at the break with a Luke Yates try.

Kieron Dixon added his third goal with a penalty on th stroke of half time – an incident which saw Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook sin-binned.

Holbrook said: “I thought the scoreline was harsh at the end. We competed really hard today, but it got away from us in the end.

“I was really proud how we came back and I thought we were unlucky in the first half to be behind like we were and with Louie in the bin and all that stuff. Nothing went our way in that first half.”

Read: How the game was lost>

Saints scored first in the second half when Joseph Paulo, playing at six, put Jack Welsby through a gap and he in return sent Danny Richardson scampering in to cut the deficit to two points.

But when Alex Walker went in for London’s third it signalled the beginning of the end of the Saints resistance.

Billinger Matt Gee and Fleming’s second made it a harsh looking scoreboard.

Holbrook said: “I thought we tried really hard in the second half and we had a real good chance when we got back into the game at 14-12 and then we made our own error and didn’t defend on the last play, we didn’t tackle them and once they got that try to take it to 20-12 they kicked away from then.

“I thought up until that point I was confident we would go on and win the game.”

The day saw Josh Simm play 80 minutes in the centres, with fellow debutants Callum Hazzard and Josh Eaves coming off the bench.

Holbrook added: ““It is a big jump from Academy to first team and they will learn a lot from that today. They deserved their opportunity.

“We have some great young players at our club and they deserved their opportunity “I would have loved to come down here and get the win to celebrate with them but we didn’t play well enough and London were too good for us.

“For those guys to get their debuts is a special occasion for them, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the result for them.

“I thought every one of our young guys had earned the opportunity and it was the right time today.

“I thought young Josh Simm to play his first game of the season in the first team.

"He is a great young talent and while he didn’t do anything flash I thought it was really good for him to get a game under his belt in the first team.”

Holbrook said the selection policy was justified given what the first teamers had done so far in the campaign and what was now in front of them.

“It was the right time that’s for sure – we have played a lot of hard games and asked a lot from our players. I thought our young guys earned the opportunity and it was the right time absolutely.

“We made the right changes, but we didn’t play good enough despite doing well to get back in the game from wh