Northampton battle past Exiles

Date published: October 4 2014

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Northampton were made to work very hard for a 19-12 Premiership victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Northampton were made to work very hard for a 19-12 Premiership victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Luther Burrell’s try proved decisive in Saints’ victory which moves them to the top of the Premiership table.

Burrell’s touchdown and five points from the boot of Stephen Myler gave Northampton a 10-0 advantage at the interval.

Shane Geraghty kicked four three-pointers for the Exiles in the second half to give them a losing bonus-point, but three penalties from Myler secured Saints’ win.

Irish have surprised many with their strong start, with them expected to reside near the bottom of the table.

Although they went into the game having only won two of their first four encounters, three of those matches were against sides that finished last season in the top-four.

The defending champions therefore represented another difficult test for the hosts, but Brian Smith’s men competed well for the opening 20 minutes.

Despite Jim Mallinder’s team controlling the set-piece battle, which led to Myler’s first penalty, the Exiles were strong at the contact area.

But they were struggling to make any significant indents into the Northampton rearguard and the Saints were typically clinical when a chance to counter-attack presented itself.

Wing Ken Pisi spotted an opportunity and combined with George North to put Burrell away, who finished excellently. The visiting pivot was on target with the conversion as they went into the break 10-0 in front.

Irish opened the second half impressively and successive Geraghty three-pointers reduced the deficit to 10-6.

The respective kickers then traded two penalties each as the game entered the final 15 minutes with Northampton 16-12 ahead, but Myler’s fourth penalty late on confirmed the visitors’ triumph.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Pens: Geraghty 4

For Northampton:
Try: Burrell
Con: Myler
Pen: Myler 4

London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 James Short, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Tom

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