Revenge is sweet for Northampton

Date published: February 13 2016

It was a case of sweet revenge for Northampton when they secured a 35-7 victory over London Irish at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

Saints were dominant in front of their home fans, who scored five tries, securing a bonus point victory in front of their new Barwell Stand. The result is sweet revenge for the hosts who handed the Exiles their first win of the season in the corresponding fixture in Round Seven. 

The visitors prop up the table, with Tom Coventry's men looking poles apart from their Aviva Premiership rivals. Irish started the game strongly, and defended resolutely for the opening ten minutes, but they lost Halani Aulika to the sin bin for failing to retreat from the penalty. 

Northampton took advantage through James Craig, who touched down following great work from the forward pack. Stephen Myler converted. 

Moments later, a penalty try given for pulling down the maul extended the lead for the Saints, and Myler added the extras with ease. Aulika returned to the action soon after, with the damage done in his ten minute absence. 

As the first came towards its conclusion, Irish had a chance to worm their way back in, but Shane Geraghty's penalty was wide of the posts. Irish's misery was further compounded just before half-time, with Alex Waller going over, but it was all too easy with the away side pushing too many backs up the pitch. 

Waller finished with ease, and Myler had a little help from the post, but the two points were added. 21-0 at the break. 

From the restart, it did not take long for Northampton to get the bonus point, and all but seal the win, with a fourth try. 

Jamie Elliott was the man who touched down this time, but it went to a TMO, which ruled downward pressure was applied. Myler kept up his superb kicking record. And from the restart, Saints attacked down the left, resulting in scrum-half Lee Dickson crossing the whitewash. 

Unsurprisingly, Myler added the extras. Jim Mallinder made a number of changes throughout the half, but his side still dominated for large periods. 

JJ Hanrahan was sent to the sin-bin with less than fifteen minutes remaining for the hosts, and Jamie Gibson followed him soon afterwards. 

That disadvantage told with Irish getting themselves a consolation try, David Paice got over, and Gergahty converted. It was not enough to dampen the home fans' spirit, a dominant display and a deserved victory.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: Craig, Penalty try, Waller, Elliott, Dickson
Cons: Myler 5

For London Irish:
Try: Paice
Pen: Geraghty

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 James Wilson, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 George Pisi

London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Ciaran Hearn, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Luke Narraway, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Will Lloyd, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Halani Aulica, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court 
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Tom Smallbone, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Theo Brophy-Clews, 23 Dom Waldouck

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Wayne Falla
TMO: Sean Davey