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Northampton Saints 32 Worcester Warriors 24: Season ends in style at Franklin's Gardens

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints ended their season and bade a fond farewell to several Saintsmen with a hard-earned victory over a resilient Worcester side.

It was an emotional afternoon at the Gardens, with the club saying farewell to 1,362 caps worth of players – including man of the match Ben Foden and Stephen Myler – but Northampton made it the perfect send off, with some fantastic tries to cap off the occasion.

The hosts had a difficult start, with an early yellow card for the departing Foden leaving the side a man down, and Worcester made them pay scoring twice in the next ten minutes.

Electric pace from Chris Pennell set up Will Butler for the first try of the game in a fine passage of play, before a clever Dorian Jones grubber through the back line allowed Butler to latch onto the kick, and down it just before the dead-ball line; Jones converted twice and Worcester stood 14-0 ahead.

But Saints responded with Foden making a good break and Mitch Eadie scored his side's opening try, edging over the line from the ruck by the posts, not only halving his sides’ deficit but turning the volume back up inside the Gardens. 

Saints piled on the pressure in search of their second try as the clock ran down towards half-time, but a miscued lineout saw the chance to pull level slip away. 

And despite several attempts to break through for a second score the Warriors were solid in defence, and Saints had to settle with a penalty kick, bringing the gap to just four points as the two teams headed back down the tunnel. 

Worcester had the perfect start to the second half; Ben Te’o crossed the whitewash after replacement Tom Howe's superb kick down the left flank was latched onto by Josh Adams, who offloaded inside for the England centre to score.

However Nafi Tuitavake broke through the Warriors back-line just minutes later to score his sides’ second of the game behind the posts, and once again reduce the gap to just four points. 

And Saints took the lead for the first time in the game soon after in a well-worked attacking move, with the ball worked out to Foden who produced a fine finish in the left corner to rapturous celebrations from the home fans.

Worcester were quick to retake a lead though with a penalty giving them a slim margin of just two points; both teams were very much in the clash with less than half an hour to go. 

Tom Collins scored a fourth in what was an outstanding counter-attacking move, with Tuitavake collecting the kick, Foden offloading to Collins, and the winger leaving everyone for dust with superb pace to dot down in the left corner – a fine try to once again reclaim the lead which Saints would not relinquish.

Worcester eagerly pushed for another try but numerous efforts came to nothing as the Saints defence worked flawlessly to hold on to their lead. 

In his final appearance for Northampton, Stephen Myler cooly slotted home Saints’ second penalty to seal the win two minutes from time, with his final kick for the club bringing an end to the 2017-18 season and a ninth-place finish.

SAINTS: Foden (capt); North, Tuitavake, Francis, Collins; Grayson, Reinach; Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Ratuniyarawa, Craig, Gibson, Harrison, Eadie
Replacements: Clare, Ma’afu, Hill, Ribbans, Ludlam, Mitchell, Myler, Tuala

WARRIORS: Pennell, Humphreys, Te’o, Butler, Adams; Jones, Hougaard; Bower, Singleton, Schonert, Bresler, Barry, Mama, Lewis, van Velse (capt)
Replacements: Taufete’e, Waller, Milasinovich, Kitchener, Denton, Arr, Shillcock, Howe

TIMELINE
7’ WARRIORS Try Butler, Conversion Jones 0-7
11’ WARRIORS Try Butler, Conversion Jones 0-14
24’ SAINTS Try Eadie, Conversion Grayson 7-14
39’ SAINTS Penalty Grayson 10-14
HALF-TIME Saints 10-14 Warriors
42’ WARRIORS Try Te’o Conversion Jones 10-21
46’ SAINTS Try Tuitavake Conversion Grayson 17-21
50’ SAINTS Try Foden 22-21
54’ WARRIORS Penalty Jones 22-24
57’ SAINTS Try Collins Conversion Grayson 29-24
79’ SAINTS Penalty Myler 32-24
FULL-TIME Saints 32-24 Warriors

Match

Northampton Saints vs Worcester Warriors

Match Details

FT ScoreFull Time Score

Saints 32-24 Worcester

Attendance

14,121

Referee

Luke Pearce

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
32

Summary

Full Time

Worcester Warriors
Worcester Warriors
24

Opposition LineupWorcester Warriors

15
Chris Pennell
14
Perry Humphreys
13
Ben Te'o
12
Will Butler
11
Josh Adams
10
Dorian Jones
9
Francois Hougaard
1
Ryan Bower
2
Jack Singleton
3
Nick Schonert
4
Anton Bresler
5
Darren Barry
6
Marco Mama
7
Sam Lewis
8
Gerrit-Jan Van Velze

SubsWorcester Warriors

16
Joe Taufete'e
17
Ethan Waller
18
Gareth Milasinovich
19
Andrew Kitchener
20
Dave Denton
21
Jonny Arr
22
Jamie Shillcock
23
Tom Howe
Rugby

Ben Foden to lead out Saints for 250th and final appearance

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints legend Ben Foden will lead out the side on his 250th and final appearance for the Club on Saturday afternoon.

The 32-year-old is one of a host of Saints stalwarts that will be pulling on the Black, Green and Gold jersey for the final time as Northampton host Worcester Warriors at Franklin’s Gardens.

Final league positions will be on the line so Saints – who have beaten Warriors on three of the previous four meetings between the sides – have plenty of pride at stake in front of what will be a bumper Gardens crowd.

Interim head coach Alan Dickens and technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney have made four changes from the side that ran Aviva Premiership semi-finalists Wasps so close last time out.

Foden skippers the team at fullback after shifting from the wing, with Tom Collins brought into the Saints’ starting XV for the first time since January to make his 50th appearance for the Club.

George North remains on the other wing, but there are two further changes to Northampton’s back line as Nafi Tuitavake and James Grayson both start at outside centre and fly-half respectively.

But in the pack there is only one change; Kieran Brookes makes his final appearance for the Club at tighthead prop, packing down with Alex Waller and Mikey Haywood in the front row.

Stephen Myler, Campese Ma’afu and Charlie Clare will all also run out at Franklin’s Gardens for the final time in a Saints jersey, and will look to make an impact off the bench alongside the likes of Ahsee Tuala, Alex Mitchell, and David Ribbans – who returns from injury to join the replacements.

“I’ve seen these players as both a teammate and a coach and they’ve served Saints brilliantly in what is probably the most successful period in the history of the Club,” said Dickens.

“The motivation to send the guys out on a high note has to come from within the players and we’ve spoken about that this week – hopefully we put on a performance to match the occasion.”

Tickets for Saints' final clash of the season against Worcester Warriors are still available from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000. Prices start at £36 for adults and £16 for juniors.

After the game players will be honoured with a lap around the stadium before supporters are welcomed onto the pitch for the annual presentation of shirts to our departing players.

SAINTS v WORCESTER WARRIORS
Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 22
Saturday 5th May, 2018
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 4pm 

SAINTS WARRIORS

15 Ben Foden (capt)
14 Tom Collins
13 Nafi Tuitavake
12 Piers Francis
11 George North
10 James Grayson
9 Cobus Reinach 

1 Alex Waller
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Kieran Brookes
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 James Craig
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Teimana Harrison
8 Mitch Eadie

Replacements:
16 Charlie Clare
17 Campese Ma’afu
18 Paul Hill
19 David Ribbans
20 Lewis Ludlam
21 Alex Mitchell
22 Stephen Myler
23 Ahsee Tuala 

 

15 Chris Pennell
14 Perry Humphreys
13 Ben Te’o
12 Will Butler
11 Josh Adams
10 Dorian Jones
9 Francois Hougaard

1 Ryan Bower
2 Jack Singleton
3 Nick Schonert
4 Anton Bresler
5 Darren Barry
6 Marco Mama
7 Sam Lewis
8 GJ van Velze (capt)

Replacements:
16 Joe Taufete’e
17 Ethan Waller
18 Gareth Milasinovich
19 Andrew Kitchener
20 David Denton
21 Jonny Arr
22 Jamie Shillcock
23 Tom Howe

 

Injury update:
Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley, Harry Mallinder, Christian Day, Reece Marshall, Heinrich Brüssow and Luther Burrell are all unavailable for selection.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
9
Northampton Saints
Northampton SaintsNOR228014509645-13664805643
10
Worcester Warriors
Worcester WarriorsWOR227015437601-16455745336
Form Guide

Form

LWLLW

Last match

Beat Dragons 35-21

Past meeting

Won 32-24
Full Time
Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
32
Worcester Warriors
Worcester Warriors
24