In the latest edition of a 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 in years gone by saw numerous Saints impressing on the international stage, while the march towards the Premiership continued in an unbeaten season for Northampton.
England 18 – 11 Italy
Twickenham Stadium, March 2013
Six Nations Championship
Despite most of the squad benefitting from a rest week on this weekend five years ago, there were a few international Saints in action as the Six Nations got back underway following a fallow week.
With Tom Wood starting and Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes entering the action from the bench, the men in Black, Green and Gold helped England secure a narrow victory over Italy.
Having never beaten England in their 18 meetings to date at the time, a well-executed second-half try from Italy’s Luke McLean and two Luciano Orquera penalties raised the prospect of a historic upset.
But England managed to hold their relentless guests at bay, as Italy went in desperate search of the converted try that would seal a draw in the final minute, to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive.
Pertemps Bees 17 – 27 Northampton Saints
Sharmans Cross, March 2008
Heading to Birmingham on this weekend ten years ago, Saints secured their 25th win of the season against the Pertemps Bees.
Saints, who should have ‘appeared on Crimewatch after pulling off a blatant daylight robbery’ according to a Birmingham paper at the time, completed a stunning second-half comeback to topple the Bees.
It all started brightly for the hosts, as Alex Davidson was driven over from close range, Jon Higgins adding a smart conversion, before Saints got on the board through Ian Vass.
But the Bees would extend their lead when flanker Andy Daish was released and Higgins made it 14-5.
Bruce Reihana crossed just before half-time with Barry Everitt converting to close the gap further, and Saints regained the lead after the break through a penalty.
Higgins then replied to put the hosts back ahead, but from here it was all Saints. Mark Easter was pushed over before Paul Diggin added a fourth and then a fifth in injury time to seal the win.
England 40 – 5 Italy
Twickenham Stadium, March 2003
Six Nations Championship
With the break in the Premiership still in force on this weekend 15 years ago, the attention would again turn to England’s Saints for supporters of the Black, Green and Gold.
And remaining on course for their Grand Slam, England – featuring a duo of Saints in the form of Steve Thompson and Matt Dawson – put six tries past a plucky Italy side to secure their fourth win of the Championship.
Thompson scampered over to score one of England’s six, burrowing over from close range, while James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Dan Luger and two from Josh Lewsey provided the rest, with only Mirco Bergamasco answering from Italy.
Missed last week’s ‘Five, Ten, Fifteen…’ feature? Catch up by CLICKING HERE