In the first of a brand new feature for the Saints’ website, we take an historical look back at what was happening for the boys in Black, Green and Gold from five, ten and 15 years ago.
This week we start with a brilliant victory for three Saints in the England jersey…
Saints 11-27 Gloucester
Five years ago the week kicked off in superb fashion with a Saints trio involved in a Calcutta Cup victory for England.
Tom Wood started the Twickenham clash at blindside flanker with Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes both coming off the bench in a resounding 38-18 win.
All three were picked again for England’s next match in Dublin, with Wood switching to No.8 for Stuart Lancaster’s side.
Meanwhile, back at Franklin’s Gardens, Saints hosted Gloucester Rugby as they returned to Aviva Premiership action from the Anglo-Welsh Cup break.
In 2013 they would make it all the way to the Aviva Premiership final for the first time in the Club’s history, but this weekend held what was a rare loss for the side in that campaign and only their third home defeat all season.
Then Cherry & White Jonny May and the boot of Chris Cook provided all of Gloucester’s points at the Gardens, although Saints did earn themselves a reprieve in the form of a Phil Dowson score.
But blighted by yellow cards, it was not to be for the eventual finalists and Gloucester left Northampton with a rare win.
Doncaster Knights 10-36 Saints
In their only season in recent history not in the top flight of English rugby, Saints’ fixture from ten years ago saw them head to Castle Park to face Doncaster Knights.
Opening the scoring after just two minutes, Saints – as with every game they played that season – wrapped up the win. Chris Ashton got the visitors off the mark, scoring one of his 39 tries that season, before crossing again moments later after a Jon Clarke interception.
Bruce Reihana added a penalty to Saints’ tally after good pressure from the away side and it was not long before Ashton was dotting down a clever grubber kick for his hat-trick.
Doncaster came back from the break with some intensity and a well-worked line-out saw Bryn Griffiths over with Justin Bishop crossing for the home side just minutes later to bring the game back within two scores.
But Ashton was soon back over the try line for his fourth of the afternoon before another well-worked move opened up play for Matt Lord to sneak over to end proceedings and see Saints collect yet another win.
Saints 34-25 Saracens
Ending a three-game losing streak as they faced Saracens at the Gardens, Saints’ clash fifteen years ago saw them run four tries past the Londoners and surge back into form with aplomb.
With Saracens getting off the mark first with an Andy Goode penalty, it was not long before Saints responded with Paul Grayson knocking over a fine kick of his own. Saints continued to dominate territory and possession and soon sent Ben Cohen over for the first try of the afternoon.
Another Grayson penalty added to Saints’ tally before Matt Dawson scrambled over after a good period of pressure from the home side. But when a pass from the Saints scrum-half went awry, Saracens’ Thomas Castaignede ran in a try.
It was a short-lived comeback though as second-half tries from Tom Smith and Grant Seely put the game out of sight for the Londoners, and while they sent Kris Chesney and Goode over at the death, it was Saints that came away with the vital victory.