Two sensational intercept scores, plus 20 points from the boot of Dan Biggar, handed Northampton Saints a crucial 32-6 triumph at Worcester Warriors.
Chris Boyd’s men led 12-3 at the interval after dominating proceedings in the first 40 minutes, Biggar outscoring opposite number Duncan Weir by four penalties to one – with Saints’ defence racking up 40 tackles and missing none.
And with Biggar unerring from the tee, Northampton streaked clear thanks to tries from man-of-the-match Cobus Reinach and Luther Burrell to surge up the Gallagher Premiership Rugby standings.
Saints began very brightly and enjoyed lots of early possession, with the likes of David Ribbans and Luther Burrell making several big carries.
And it was the outside centre whose break released Taqele Naiyaravoro in the sixth minute, but while Northampton thought they had notched the game’s opening score, the TMO ruled the big Wallaby had just been forced into touch by Bryce Heem.
Warriors cleared their lines but back came Saints with the ball and when Sam Lewis was pinged right in front of the posts for not releasing, Biggar made no mistake to put the visitors in front.
Tom Collins was put under pressure by Josh Adams on the edge of his own 22 shortly after to force a turnover – however while Warriors forced a penalty at scrum time, Northampton were let off as Weir shanked his kick wide.
Alex Waller then got over the ball and won a penalty of his own on halfway, before referee Wayne Barnes raised his arm Saints’ way again during the resulting lineout maul, and Biggar had a shot at goal to make it 6-0 after 16 minutes.
Cobus Reinach stripped GJ Van Velze of the ball deep in the hosts’ territory and yet another penalty followed, allowing Biggar to stripe another three points straight through the sticks.
Weir finally responded for Worcester from straight in front of the posts after 25 minutes, but nine minutes later they were penalised for tackling the man without the ball, and another flawless long-range kick from Biggar kept Warriors at arm’s length at the break.
Three minutes into the second half Weir cut the deficit with a penalty, and with Biggar and Tom Wood both lost to HIA’s at the same time, the momentum was finally with Worcester – but two moments of brilliance from Reinach proved pivotal.
First, the scrum-half made a sensational try-saving tackle when Bryce Heem had the whitewash at his mercy, before reading opposite number Francois Hougaard and picking off a pass to streak the length of the field and score a sensational try.
Piers Francis stepped up and smacked a tricky conversion attempt straight through the posts in the absence of Biggar to make it 19-6, but once Saints’ No.10 returned to the field he slotted his fifth and sixth kicks of the evening to take the visitors out of sight.
And with the clock ticking down, Burrell – who was dominant in the midfield throughout – put the gloss on the win with another intercept to run in under the posts from 70 metres out.
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