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Saints 74-13 Wasps: Northampton roar into play-offs with record win

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With live rugby and Northampton Saints's clash with Wasps off the books this weekend, we're taking a look back to when Saints setup a mouth-watering Premiership Rugby semi-final against Leicester Tigers with an 11-try demolition of their now Midlands rivals at Franklin’s Gardens back in 2014.

A quick start from the visitors looked like it might derail hopes of a home knockout tie, but the men in Black, Green and Gold came storming back from 0-13 down to score 74 unanswered points in a devastating display.

The hosts were hit with an early sucker-punch double as a Charlie Davies chargedown and Tom Varndell’s interception try sandwiched a penalty from Joe Carlisle.

Going 13 points behind, however, seemed to galvanise Northampton and some neat handling from the backs was finished expertly by George North stepping inside off his left foot.

A brutal rolling maul further cut the deficit, skipper Phil Dowson emerging with the ball and the first of his two tries on the afternoon, before Ben Foden set the Gardens alight.

Fielding a loose clearing kick, the England full-back scythed through midfield, isolating half a dozen defenders and showing the presence of mind to find the supporting Stephen Myler on his shoulder for a scintillating score.

Myler would convert his own try and add three more points with a penalty before another piece of individual brilliance opened the visitors up once more. Hitting the line at pace, Mikey Haywood splintered a pair of Wasps defenders and popped up a perfect pass for the onrushing Luther Burrell to seal the bonus point just moments before half-time.

After their slow start to the first half, Saints clearly came out intent on avoiding a repeat performance and a brutal scrum emphatically ensured that this was the case. With the pack shoving Wasps back beneath their own posts almost driving maul-like, Lee Dickson was the beneficiary, dotting down with ease at the base.

While another set-piece close to the line looked prime for Saints to score, Foden’s try would come about with more than a hint of luck. This time the Wasps forwards would get a shove on, but recovering possession proved only a brief respite for the visitors as Nathan Hughes’ fumble fell right in the lap of the Saints full-back.

Another close range score followed as Dickson aided James Wilson’s drive for the line and smuggled the ball out for try number seven, and North would join his teammate in doubling up with a 60-metre counter dash when a Wasps attack broke down.

Replacement Tom Stephenson, having freed North up the left, then broke through for another assist, this time for Man of the Match Ken Pisi, and was soon on the scoresheet himself having latched onto a deft kick through from Wilson.

And it was left to the captain to round-off the scoring, Dowson crashing through the Wasps ranks on a cracking line to notch an 11th of the afternoon for his side and the perfect warm-up ahead of a crunch Derby Day semi-final at the Gardens.

Northampton Saints: Foden; K Pisi, Wilson, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson; Waller, Haywood, Ma'afu; Craig, Day; Clark, Dowson (capt), Dickinson
Replacements: Britton, Corbisiero, Mercey, Manoa, Wood, Fotuali’i, G Pisi, Stephenson

Wasps: T Bell; Short, C Bell (capt), Hayter, Varndell; Carlisle, Davies; McIntyre, Lindsay, Vea; Cannon, Palmer; Jackson, Thompson, Hughes
Replacements: Festuccia, Reeves, Swainston, Launchbury, Johnson, Sheehan, Goode, Daly

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