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Match Report: Bath Rugby 43 – 12 Northampton Saints

Despite falling to a 43-12 defeat to Bath at the Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon, Saints secured themselves top spot in the Gallagher Premiership for the first time in nine years.

The men in Black, Green and Gold went into the break 12 points down as both Josh Bayliss and Will Muir crossed for the hosts inside the first quarter of an hour, with Finn Russell converting both, as well as adding a penalty to see his side into a 17-point advantage. But Saints struck on the 40-minute mark, with James Ramm scoring in the corner to cut the gap going into half-time.

The hosts scored a further four tries in the second half, with Tom Dunn, Ben Spencer, Alfie Barbeary and Will Muir all crossing the whitewash. Saints did find their way to the line in the second forty though, as Tom Seabrook dived over for a consolation score in the dying embers of the contest.

FIRST HALF

It was the hosts with the first try of the game, scoring inside the opening ten minutes. Saints were forced over their own try line from a five-metre lineout, giving Bath a scrum. And from the resulting set-piece, Bayliss dotted down over the line. Finn Russell added the conversion to give his side a seven-point advantage.

The hosts had a second try 15 minutes in as Muir found a gap on the 22-metre-line and cantered over the line un-opposed. Russell again added the extras to extend Bath’s lead to 14.

Saints almost responded minutes later, as Burger Odendaal crashed his way up and over the line from 10 metres out, but the South African was held up over the line.

Russell added a penalty with 15 minutes left of the half from straight in front, after Saints had strayed offside.

The away side did get on the score sheet before the break, as Ramm had the men in Black, Green and Gold’s first points of the game on the stroke of half-time. Saints had been knocking on the Bath door for multiple attacks which initially had resulted in Matt Gallagher being sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on. And from the next play, Dowson’s men took advantage of the extra man as Ramm dived over in the right-hand corner.

SECOND HALF

It didn’t take long for Bath to have their third score of the game, as they crossed the line just three minutes into the second half. Dunn was the recipient of a dominant driving maul from the hosts. Russell added the extras and the home side led by 19 points.

Spencer then had Bath’s bonus point score 55 minutes in as he intercepted a Rory Hutchinson pass and ran in from the half way line.

With his first touch of the ball, Barbeary then had the host’s fifth try of the match as another dominant maul couldn’t be stopped.

And from kick off, they had their sixth try of the game. Ollie Lawrence broke through Saints’ line on halfway and found Muir outside, with the winger cantering in from thirty metres. Orlando Bailey’s conversion attempt sailed wide, but the hosts lead 43-5.

Saints did find their way to the line in the second half, with Tom Seabrook diving over in the dying embers of the game. Paul Hill did extremely well to hold off a couple of Bath defenders before offloading to Seabrook who acrobatically dived over in the corner. Charlie Savala added the conversion, bringing the score to 43-12 to Bath.

The men in Black, Green and Gold now have a week’s break before they face Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership semi-final at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday the 31st of May (Kick-off, 7:45pm).

LINE UPS-

BATH: Gallagher, Cokanasiga, Lawrence, Redpath, Muir, Russell, Spencer (c); Obano, Dunn, Du Toit, Roux, Ewels, Hill, Underhill, Bayliss

Replacements: Annett, Schoeman, Stuart, Stooke, Barbeary, Schreuder, Bailey, Reid

SAINTS: Ramm, Seabrook, Litchfield, Odendaal, Sleightholme, Hutchinson, James; Iyogun, Matavesi, Millar Mills, Mayanavanua, Lockett, Scott-Young, Ludlam (c), Graham

Replacements: Smith, Haffar, Hill, Munga, Pearson, McParland, Savala, Thame

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