In the second edition 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 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…
Worcester Warriors 18-25 Saints
Sixways, February 2013
In the year they would reach the Aviva Premiership final for the first time in the Club’s history, Saints mounted their push towards the play-off places with a brilliant win on the road – despite having England duo Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley both sent to the sin bin at Sixways.
But with Worcester down to 14 at a crucial moment in the game, Neil Best’s period on the sideline opening the game up, the forwards sent Samu Manoa over for the match-winning score.
Saints were immediately pushed into defensive action as Josh Drauniniu got close, and with the home side leading 12-9 at the break – thanks to the boot of Andy Goode – Saints’ solid defence had been thoroughly tested.
But the away side were happy to rely on their ever-sure defensive system and let Stephen Myler do the rest, putting Saints ahead in the 57th minute.
And though Goode responded, Manoa’s score was enough for Saints to secure the win with a late penalty try finishing off the job.
Esher 10-41 Saints
Moseley Road, February 2008
A converted Don Barrell try and penalty from Dave Hewitt were enough to give Esher a shock lead over Saints at half time ten years ago.
But Saints came back to score 35 unanswered points to secure victory at a packed Pillar Data Arena, coming away with the win as they did in all their other outings that season.
Fired up by the occasion, it was the home side that made the best of the opening minutes. With Charlie Amesbury getting close, the Esher paceman powered through the Saints defence before putting Barrell over in the corner.
And the home side kept their intensity up, earning a penalty which fly-half Hewitt made no mistake of converting into points. But from there it was all Saints as they continued their unbeaten season.
With Chris Ashton notching up his 30th try of the season in the opening 40 minutes, Saints found their scoring touch after the break and proceeded to send Paul Diggin, Stephen Myler, Darren Fox and Ashton over again before the final whistle.
England 25-17 France
Twickenham Stadium, February 2003
With no league games taking place on this weekend fifteen years ago, England opened up their Six Nations campaign as they took on France at Twickenham.
In a Championship that ultimately ended in a Grand Slam success before victory at the World Cup later that year, Saints players Ben Cohen and Steve Thompson contributed to the side’s emphatic first win of the tournament.
Despite a sparkling team move that saw Will Greenwood send Jason Robinson over, the rest of England’s points would come from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson as he notched up a 20-point haul to earn his side the victory over the French.