Saints find their form in Glasgow

Date published: November 21 2015

Northampton Saints made it two wins from two in the Champions Cup after a 26-15 victory away to Glasgow Warriors.

Ahsee Tuala grabbed a try in each half as the Premiership side inflicted a rare home defeat on the PRO12 champions at Scotstoun.

Northampton might have won their opening match against the Scarlets but Saints have been far from at their best this season, lying tenth in the Premiership coming into the start of the Champions Cup.

However they looked sharp and confident for the majority of the 80 minutes in Scotland, earning multiple scrum penalties and impressing in defence in the second half to keep Glasgow at bay, as well as scoring three tries. Kieran Brookes, the England prop, stood out and was deservedly crowned man of the match for his efforts up front.

By contrast new signing Shalva Mamukashvili, the Georgia hooker, was thrust into action early for Glasgow and their lineout noticeably struggled as a result.

Scotland number ten Finn Russell missed an early chance to give Glasgow the lead but he came good two minutes later to make it 3-0, before Northampton struck.

Stephen Myler's high kick unsettled the Glasgow defence in their own 22 and the ball fell George Pisi's way for the Samoa centre to produce the game's first try.

Intense pressure on Glasgow in the scrum allowed Myler to add six more points from two penalties, with Ryan Grant was sent to the sin-bin by referee Pascal Gauzère as punishment for Glasgow's scrum issues.

Capping off an excellent 20-minute period, Tuala broke through a weak tackle by Mark Bennett to power his way to the line for an 18-3 lead that Northampton completely deserved.

Glasgow had to get their heads straight and as the scrum held firm they were able to produce one of those well-worked backline moves that we've become used to, as Peter Horne hit the line at speed and drove over for a try. 

Russell's conversion had Glasgow almost within a score again, only for Glasgow's scrum to bleed another penalty from which Myler made the scoreline 21-10 to the visitors at half-time.

Northampton were at it again ten minutes into the second half. Ben Foden's excellent break up the middle put the Saints on the attack and a fine grubber through from Myler set up Tuala to win the race to the ball for his second score. Myler failed to convert but Northampton were well ahead with a 16-point buffer.

Luther Burrell's mixed night took a turn for the worse when he was yellow carded with Saints under pressure in their 22. Rather than opt for the corner the hosts went quickly, Leone Nakarawa with the initial carry before Scotland flanker Josh Strauss crashed over the line. Russell couldn't convert.

Glasgow were desperate to add more points given their man advantage but a crucial lineout steal from Christian Day with the hosts five metres out was a significant moment.

The hosts' enthusiasm never dipped but despite plenty of territory Glasgow just weren't clicking as we've seen them do so often over the last couple of season on the road to success.

Northampton were forced to rack up the tackles in the final few minutes but they kept their composure, holding out for an impressive away win at a tough place to go which may just kickstart their season.

The scorers:

For Glasgow:
Tries: Horne, Strauss
Cons: Russell
Pens: Russell
Yellow Card: Grant

For Northampton:
Tries: Pisi, Tuala 2
Cons: Myler
Pens: Myler 3
Yellow Card: Burrell

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant. 
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Richie Vernon, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller. 
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Jon Fisher, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Kahn Fotuali’I, 22 Jj Hanrahan, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant Referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Gilles Cogne (France)