Planet Rugby

Champions fall to new boys

20th September 2008 16:58

Share:

Carlos Spencer on the charge for Northampton against Wasps

King Carlos: Spencer was at the heart of Northampton's win

London Wasps were left staring down the barrel after falling victims to a 24-20 defeat to Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens. This third straight loss means the champions have now made their worst-ever start to a Premiership season.

The Saints benefited from some Josh Lewsey fumbles in the first half as the England man gifted easy tries to opposite number Bruce Reihana and wing Chris Ashton.

But Wasps also benefited from Reihana's wayward kicking as the full-back missed three penalties to leave the match perfectly poised at 14-14 heading into the second half.

The match remained on a knife edge until wing Sean Lamont went over 12 minutes from time to leave several unanswered questions at Wasps Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan's door.

Despite the contribution of Reihana, the game was won in the pack where the outstanding Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe out-muscled the Wasps forwards.

In front of a sell-out crowd, the hosts made the perfect start in the opening minute when Lewsey's clearing kick was charged down by Reihana, who gleefully gathered up the loose ball to touch down before converting.

Dave Walder pulled three points back for Wasps on eight minutes, kicking a penalty from just outside the Saints 22 after they were penalised for not releasing.

Two minutes later, Wasps went in front when a quick passing move from a line-out on the far side ended with Dominic Waldouck going over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Saints flanker Scott Gray was then caught offside by referee Chris White on 20 minutes, resulting in Walder kicking three points from 40 metres before Reihana missed a penalty from the touchline.

But Northampton retook the lead when Lewsey dropped Carlos Spencer's kick, and Chris Ashton, who grabbed 39 tries in National One, ran in under the posts for his first score in the Premiership.

On 32 minutes former All Black Reihana hit the upright from a penalty from 45 metres, before missing one from a similar distance two minutes later.

And Walder showed him how to do it with a textbook strike right on the stroke of half time.

Northampton moved three points ahead just after the restart when Reihana kicked a close-range penalty only for Walder to immediately haul them level.

Both sides reduced to 14 men on 48 minutes when Rob Webber and Dylan Hartley were sent to the sin bin for using their knees on each other in the tackle.

In an electric atmosphere, both Reihana and Walder missed a penalty apiece before the Wasps fly-half landed a penalty kick from just inside his own half to make 20-17.

But on 68 minutes replacement Stephen Myler's long, cut out pass to the left wing found Lamont who went over with Myler converting from out wide.

It is the first time in 21 years that Wasps have lost their opening three games of the season.

The scorers:

For Northampton Saints:

Tries: Reihana, Ashton, Lamont

Cons: Reihana 2, Myler

Pen: Reihana

For London Wasps:

Try: Waldouck

Pens: Walder 5

Yellow cards: Hartley (Northampton - 49th minute), Webber (Wasps - 49th minute)

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Bruce Reihana (c), 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 James Downey, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Scott Gray, 6 Neil Best, 5 Christian Day, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.

Replacements: 16 Paul Shields, 17 Barry Stewart, 18 Tom Smith, 19 Alex Rae, 20 Mark Hopley, 21 Ben Foden, 22 Stephen Myler.

London Wasps: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 John Hart, 7 James Haskell, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Phil Vickery (c), 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tim Payne.

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Pat Barnard, 18 Dan Leo, 19 Serge Betsen, 20 Mark Robinson, 21 Jeremy Staunton, 22 Rob Hoadley.

Referee: Chris White

Touch judges: Paul Dix, Alan Biggs

Television match official: Brian Abrahams

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs Griquas19:10
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
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
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
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
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
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00