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 sees two victories for Northampton as well as a triumph for a duo of Saintsmen in an England jersey, on their way to a Six Nations Grand Slam…
Saints 25-23 Bath Rugby
Franklin’s Gardens, February 2013
A Jamie Elliott brace and five penalties from Stephen Myler earned Saints a narrow win as they toppled Bath at Franklin’s Gardens five years ago this weekend.
Bath struck early and lack of precision at the lineout gave Tom Heathcote a shot at the posts which he duly converted.
But when Samu Manoa re-collected the restart at pace, Myler was soon sending a kick of his own through the uprights.
The next restart though fell into the hands of Semesa Rokoduguni and the winger soon got his side back on the front foot, but mistakes at the lineout cost Bath and Saints’ first try would come just minutes later.
With Rob Webber’s throw heading way over the top, Ben Nutley collected the loose ball and Saints made sure the chance didn’t go to waste, sending Elliott over in the corner.
The man-of-the-match winger also secured Saints’ next points, hitting Nick Abendanon hard before Tom Mercey forced a penalty for Myler to convert, only for the effort to be cancelled out by another place kick from Heathcote just after.
A scrum brought Bath a penalty and another three points for Heathcote, but Saints started the second half still two points to the good.
Three quick-fire shots from Myler took Saints’ lead into double figures, but first a penalty try and then a 60-metre solo effort from Rokoduguni – coupled with Heathcote’s conversion – saw Bath lead.
However, Saints’ composure remained resolute and when James Wilson pressured Carl Fearns at the breakdown, Elliott had the chance he needed to earn his side the win.
Bedford Blues 8 – 32 Saints
Goldington Road, February 2008
NDF National Trophy, Quarter-Final
Heading into the NDF National Trophy quarter-finals to face local rivals Bedford Blues, Saints – as they had been doing so in the league – produced an impressive win to seal their spot in the semi-finals.
Despite having the lion’s share of possession, Saints had to wait until the 25th minute of the encounter to secure their first points of the fixture, as James Downey and Jon Clarke teamed up to see Bruce Reihana over.
With the floodgates now open, it was not long before Chris Ashton crossed the whitewash and Saints seemed to be rolling along with ease.
But just before the break, a great bit of work from Mo Botha gave Jimmy Hinkins the chance to surge over the line. Another chance came just after the turnaround but the home side could not capitalise on it, instead Saints adding another penalty to their total through Reihana.
And, though only ten points ahead, Saints would kill the game off with a flurry of late tries; Mark Easter crossed before Ashton doubled his total and Darren Fox added another to see Saints through to the semi-finals.
Wales 9-26 England
Millennium Stadium, February 2003
With the Premiership still on a break for the Six Nations Championship, this weekend 15 years ago saw two Saints in Ben Cohen and Steve Thompson take a giant step towards the Grand Slam that was to follow.
Wales should have been over the whitewash first, but tries from Will Greenwood and Joe Worsley – coupled with 16-points from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson – saw Clive Woodward’s side seal their second win of the tournament.
And three penalties from the Welsh fly-half Ceri Sweeney were not enough to compete with England, who surged away to triumph in the second half.
Missed last week’s ‘Five, Ten, Fifteen…’ feature? Catch up by CLICKING HERE