Planet Rugby

Northampton hold off Exiles

20th April 2014 15:56

Share:

Northampton Saints survived a second-half fightback from London Irish to win 36-21 at Franklin's Gardens, bagging a crucial bonus point.

Jamie Elliott's two tries, alongside a Kahn Fotuali'i effort, gave the Midlands' outfit an unassailable 24-0 lead at the break.

Salesi Ma'afu then touched down to extend their advantage after the interval, but the Exiles fought back through Andrew Fenby, Shane Geraghty and Bryn Evans' scores.

However, the Saints finally secured the win when Alex Waller crossed the whitewash to give them a seven-point buffer over Bath and Leicester Tigers in the play-offs.

Having suffered three consecutive defeats in the league, Jim Mallinder's men were looking to get back on track with a game against one of the division's strugglers.

Northampton immediately asserted their authority on proceedings when Stephen Myler kicked a penalty after eight minutes.

Soon after, the Saints went over for the first time in the match when Elliott crossed the whitewash following a Fotuali'i kick which was partially charged down.

Irish had their moments in attack, too, particularly through fly-half Geraghty who made a number of breaks, but Brian Smith's side failed to take their chances in the opening period.

Instead, they were undone by a cruel piece of luck as an unfortunate bounce landed in the grateful arms of the home team's scrum-half who scampered over.

Already the game appeared to be beyond the Exiles' reach and Northampton refused to relent. Ben Foden made a searing break and, although the full-back was brought to ground, the Saints kept their composure to give Elliott a simple score in the corner.

It was 24-0 at the break and matters got worse for the visitors immediately after the interval as Burrell's run resulted in Ma'afu touching down.

To their credit, Irish continued to battle and a length of the field move ended in Fenby going over before Geraghty's intercept try reduced the arrears to 15 points with a quarter of the match to go.

All of a sudden, the hosts were on the back foot and a yellow card to Waller further increased the pressure on the Midlands' outfit.

London Irish duly took advantage as Evans crossed to give them hope of producing a remarkable comeback, but Waller's try rubberstamped the win for Northampton.

The scorers:

For Saints:
Tries: Elliott 2, Fotuali'i, Ma'afu, A Waller
Cons: Myler 3, Wilson
Pens: Myler 2
Yellow Card: A Waller

For Irish:
Tries: Fenby, Geraghty, Evans
Cons: Geraghty 3

For Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood (c), 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Ross McMillan, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Matt Williams, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Calum Clark, 20 GJ Van Velze, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Will Hooley, 23 James Wilson

For London Irish:: 15 Alex Lewington, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Shane Geraghty (c), 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Gerard Ellis, 6 Blair Cowan, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 Kieran Low, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 Mike Mayhew, 1 Matt Parr
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Johnny Harris, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Bryn Evans, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Tom Homer, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Darren Allinson

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Geoffrey Warren

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province Kings
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00