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Match Report: Northampton Saints 24 – 18 Bath Rugby

Northampton Saints’ defence came to the fore for the second time in as many weeks, as the men in Black, Green and Gold held out under late pressure from Bath Rugby to win 24-18 at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

It was two tries apiece at half-time of the Gallagher Premiership encounter; Tom Pearson and Alex Coles crossed the whitewash for the home side, while Tom De Glanville and Thomas du Toit answered for Bath – with just a missed Orlando Bailey conversion the difference between the sides at 17-15.

The second 40 was a cagier affair, as Saints scored their third of the afternoon through George Hendy, but Northampton restricted the visitors to just one Ben Spencer penalty to secure four league points and back-to-back wins.


Saints made a perfect start, as in the first phases of the game the home side were awarded a penalty just inside Bath’s half. Fin Smith stepped up and slotted the long-range effort to give the men in Black, Green, and Gold an early advantage.

The away side replied within six minutes though, as Tommy Freeman found himself isolated on the ten-metre line and was pinged for holding on – Bailey slotted the resulting kick to level the scores.

The Bath fly-half couldn’t nudge the visitors ahead ten minutes later, as he took too long to take another penalty and overran the shot clock.

Saints had already won a scrum penalty earlier in the game, and when a second penalty at scrum time gave the home side a lineout inside the Bath 22, they took it their chance.

Fraser Dingwall’s carry off the back of the lineout gave Saints momentum, and then from the resulting ruck, Tom James fired a pass into the midfield for Tom Pearson – who scythed through the defence and under the sticks. Smith converted and Saints had a seven-point lead.

Fifteen minutes before half-time, the away side replied. Cameron Redpath burst through inside the 22 and offloaded to front rower du Toit to crash over, with Bailey adding the extras.

Bath weren’t level for long though as Saints grabbed their second try of the afternoon seven minutes before the break. James was in the middle of the action again, somehow dancing his way through three Bath defenders from a standing start, and finding Coles on his inside to score.

The visitors found a way back again just before the break, as Miles Reid found space down the left wing and found De Glanville via Redpath to score in the corner. However, with Smith converting Saints’ try, and Bailey missing this conversion, it was Northampton who held a two-point lead at the break.


Just two minutes into the second half, Saints had their third try of the afternoon. De Glanville fumbled James’ kick to gift the home side a lineout inside the 22, and when the ball came off the top and into George Hendy’s arms, the winger went over the line untouched. Smith added the conversion and Saints had a nine-point advantage.

A fantastic defensive scrum on their own five-metre line to win a penalty kept Saints level, and then Rory Hutchinson also produced a superb steal inside the 22 a few minutes later.

Alex Moon then got in on the act, making a mess of a Bath lineout drive just a few metres out, and winning back the ball in the process.

But the away side’s pressure finally told with ten minutes to go as Ben Spencer kicked a penalty from in front of the sticks to cut the gap.

One final herculean defensive set from Saints finished the game, as with Bath going through the phases once more inside the 22, Sam Graham came up with a game-winning turnover to the delight of the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens crowd.

George Furbank sent the ball into the stands to end the contest, with Saints on home soil again next weekend with Exeter Chiefs coming to town.


SAINTS: 15 Furbank (c), 14 Freeman, 13 Dingwall, 12 Hutchinson, 11 Hendy, 10 Smith, 9 James; 1 A Waller, 2 Langdon, 3 Millar Mills, 4 Moon, 5 Coles, 6 Scott-Young, 7 Pearson, 8 Ludlam
Replacements: 16 Cruse, 17 E Waller, 18 Hill, 19 Munga, 20 Graham, 21 McParland, 22 Sleightholme, 23 Seabrook

BATH: 15 De Glanville, 14 McConnochie, 13 Ojomoh, 12 Redpath, 11 Muir, 10 Bailey, 9 Schreuder; 1 Obano, 2 Annett, 3 Du Toit, 4 McNally, 5 Lee-Warner, 6 Reid (c), 7 Underhill, 8 Coetzee
Replacements: 16 Dunn, 17 Schoeman, 18 Stuart, 19 Ewels, 20 Barbeary, 21 Spencer, 22 Harris, 23 Hennessey

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