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Bath Rugby 32 Saints 9: Saints downed at the Rec

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints could not take their Cup form back into league action as they were beaten 32-9 by Bath Rugby at the Rec.

The visitors certainly had the best of the opening exchanges, Piers Francis kicking them into an early 6-0 lead, but they could not convert their pressure into tries and ill-discipline allowed Bath back into the game.

And when a loose pass on the stroke of half-time led to the first try of the night for Matt Banahan, the hosts had the wind in their sails at the start of the second period and crossed twice more through Nick Auterac and Ross Batty.

Bath enjoyed lots of phases early on but made little ground, and when Saints got the ball in hand they forced an early pen for a high tackle which Francis sent deep.

The hosts were the penalized at the resulting lineout maul and Francis took the first chance at points of the evening, his sixth-minute kick sliding inside the right post.

Saints continued to pile on the pressure in Bath territory, and a brilliant burst from Tom Wood after a well-worked lineout earned Saints another shot at goal with Bath not releasing.

Francis did the honours from in front of the posts to make it 6-0 on 18 minutes, but Bath pegged back the visitors seven minutes later as a side entry from Wood saw him pinged bang in front and Burns reduced the deficit to three.

The game looked as though it might become an arm-wrestle as both sides made steady progress before strong defence forced the errors, but Jamie Gibson went off his feet and Burns levelled the scores.

Saints discipline was now letting them down slightly and two quick penalties – the second for taking the man in the air from a lineout – allowed Burns another shot at goal and he made it three from three from the tee.

And while it looked as though the score would remain 9-6 until the interval, as Saints pressed forward a wayward pass in the Saints midfield saw Ben Tapuai latch onto the loose ball, and he offloaded for Banahan to run a good inside-out line into the corner.

A well-struck conversion from Burns made it 16-6 to the hosts and the Saints had work to do.

They rode more Bath pressure well in the first ten minutes of the second period, with Bath only coming away with another Burns penalty after coming within inches of the line.

Saints responded straight away with Francis striking over a penalty of his own to give his side a lifeline heading into the final 25 minutes.

But a high tackle from Kieran Brookes meant Burns’ fifth pen of the night sailed through the uprights, and the visitors now rolled the dice with half-backs Mallinder and Groom coming into the fray.

However it was Bath who struck the killer blow with just over ten minutes remaining, showing patience to go through the phases and with Saints’ defence stretched, Burns threw the ball wide for replacement Auterac to slide over in the left corner.

Burns’ conversion slipped wide of the mark but Bath still had time for one more score as Batty crossed the whitewash in the same place, leaving Saints with plenty to work on ahead of London Irish’s visit to Franklin’s Gardens next week.

Bath Rugby: Wilson; Banahan, Hurrell, Tapuai, Brew; Burns, Fotuali’I; Noguera, Dunn, Lahiff; Stooke, Ewels; Garvey (capt), Grant, Phillips
Replacements: Batty, Auterac, Thomas, Charteris, Bayliss, Cook, Lewis, Atkins

Saints: Tuala; Pisi, Horne, Stephenson, Foden; Francis, Reinach; Ma’afu, Haywood, Brookes; Ratuniyarawa, Day (capt); Wood, Gibson, Harrison
Replacements: Marshall, van Wyk, Ford-Robinson, Ribbans, Nutley, Groom, Mallinder, Tuitavake

6’ SAINTS Penalty Francis 0-3
18’ SAINTS Penalty Francis 0-6
25’ BATH Penalty Burns 3-6
32’ BATH Penalty Burns 6-6
40’ BATH Try Banahan Conversion Burns 16-6
HALF-TIME Bath Rugby 16 – 6 Saints
50’ BATH Penalty Burns 19-6
54’ SAINTS Penalty Francis 19-9
58’ BATH Penalty Burns 22-9
68’ BATH Try Auterac 27-9
77’ BATH Try Batty 32-9
FULL-TIME: Bath Rugby 32 – 9 Saints


Bath Rugby vs Northampton Saints

Match Details

FT ScoreFull Time Score

Bath 32-9 Saints




Tom Foley

Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby


Full Time

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints

Starting LineupNorthampton Saints


Ken Pisi


Rob Horne


Tom Stephenson


Ben Foden


Cobus Reinach


Campese Ma'afu


Kieran Brookes


Christian Day


Jamie Gibson

SubsNorthampton Saints


Jamal Ford-Robinson


Ben Nutley


Nic Groom


Nafi Tuitavake

Opposition LineupBath Rugby

James Wilson
Matt Banahan
Will Hurrell
Ben Tapuai
Aled Brew
Freddie Burns
Kahn Fotuali'i
Lucas Nogeura Paz
Tom Dunn
Max Lahiff
Elliott Stooke
Charlie Ewels
Matt Garvey
Paul Grant
James Phillips

SubsBath Rugby

Ross Batty
Nick Auterac
Henry Thomas
Luke Charteris
Josh Bayliss
Chris Cook
Josh Lewis
Darren Atkins

Four changes for Saints’ trip to Bath Rugby

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Tom Wood, Rob Horne, Ben Foden and Campese Ma’afu all return to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up to take on Bath Rugby at the Rec on Friday evening.

The visitors head back into Aviva Premiership action full of confidence after four wins in their last five matches in all competitions, booking themselves a spot in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals last week.

It was a last-gasp triumph against Gloucester Rugby in their most recent Aviva Premiership outing that kick-started that run of form, and Saints will be hoping to continue that in Bath where they boast a superb recent record – they have lost just once on their last seven visits to the Rec.

Technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney and interim head coach Alan Dickens have made four changes from the side that notched up five tries against Harlequins last time out.

Two of those come in the back-line with Rob Horne coming back into the fray at outside centre after a couple of weeks of rest, while Ben Foden steps back onto the wing to bring an experienced head to what will be a hostile atmosphere under the floodlights of the Rec.

Ken Pisi took his 2018 try tally to five in five matches last time out and keeps his place on the other wing, while the half-back axis of Piers Francis and Cobus Reinach is also unchanged.

There is one change in the front row, with loosehead Campese Ma’afu coming in to join Mikey Haywood and Kieran Brookes, and Tom Wood is the only change at the back of the scrum – the 31-year-old will wear the No.6 jersey for Saints.

David Ribbans (who was the unlikely two-try hero when Saints beat Bath back in September), Francois van Wyk and Nafi Tuitavake all switch to the bench, where there is also room for Harry Mallinder who was released by England earlier in the week.

Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 14
The Recreation Ground
Friday 9th February, 2018
Kick-off: 7.45pm 

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Ken Pisi
13 Rob Horne
12 Tom Stephenson
11 Ben Foden
10 Piers Francis
9 Cobus Reinach

1 Campese Ma’afu
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Kieran Brookes
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 Christian Day (capt)
6 Tom Wood
7 Jamie Gibson
8 Teimana Harrison 

16 Reece Marshall 
17 Francois van Wyk
18 Jamal Ford-Robinson
19 David Ribbans
20 Ben Nutley
21 Nic Groom
22 Harry Mallinder
23 Nafi Tuitavake

Injury update:
Alex Waller, Jamie Elliott, Luther Burrell, and James Craig are unavailable for selection.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Bath Rugby
Bath RugbyBAT22110115725314163688456
Northampton Saints
Northampton SaintsNOR228014509645-13664805643
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