Northampton edge scrap with Bath

Date published: December 5 2015

Northampton emerged on top of a poor Premiership contest at The Recreation Ground on Saturday, defeating Bath 13-11.

Matt Banahan's 200th Bath appearance was one to forget as the boot of JJ Hanharan was crucial to Northampton's win, with Bath's poor discipline costing them once again.

Hanrahan's two penalty kicks were added to by a try for Luther Burrell, which he also converted.

A try for Semesi Rokodoguni wasn't enough for Bath, with the battle between Nic Auterac and Kieran Brookes in the scrum seeing a number of penalties awarded in Northampton's favour throughout the game.

A slow first half saw the majority of the game played in the middle of the field, with neither team threatening to break through.

The only score of the first period came from the boot of Northampton's JJ Hanrahan, kicking from the 22-metre line after Bath conceded their fourth penalty from five scrums.

With 34 minutes on the clock, Henry Thomas picked up Bath's eighth yellow card of the season, after yet another penalty was given against the Bath pack.

Northampton went close later in the first half, before Luther Burrell fumbled as he was tackled just one metre from the try line.

George Ford levelled the scores with a penalty in very windy conditions after 43 minutes.

Luther Burrell was gifted the chance to score from 20 metres out, as an indecisive George Ford chose to pass across the backs, which Burrell intercepted before it could reach Jonathan Joseph – JJ Hanrahan added the extras, converting from close range.

As Bath were awarded another penalty, Ford took the option to kick from 47 metres which failed to reach the posts in the strong winds.

Fast passing across the Bath backs saw Anthony Watson ship the ball out to Semesi Rokodoguni on the right wing, who broke through the tackle of Ben Foden and dived for the corner.

The try took Bath ahead in the game for the first time, but George Ford wasn't able to add the conversion from a tight angle, despite it flying agonisingly close.

Yet another penalty conceded at the scrum by Bath gave Hanrahan the chance to take his side ahead at the Rec, and he converted the chance from 45 metres.

As the game petered out, the only positive from Bath's perspective was the bonus point, as the look to regroup before their Champions Cup game against Wasps next weekend.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Try: Rokoduguni
Pens: Ford 2
Yellow Card: Thomas

For Northampton:
Try: Burrell
Con: Hanrahan
Pens: Hanrahan 2

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Tom Ellis, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Dave Wilson, 19 David Denton, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden (c), 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 James Craig, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Ken Pisi

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Graham Hughes