Planet Rugby

Saints and Bath share the spoils

22nd November 2008 14:55

Share:

Peter Short v Northampton

Mismatch: Myler tries to get to grips with Short

Bath fought back from a second-half slump to record a 28-28 draw against Northampton in a thriller at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

Butch James, South Africa's World Cup-winning fly-half who was overlooked for the Springboks' clash with England at Twickenham, kicked three penalties and two conversions for Bath, who had won all their previous away matches this season.

Full-back Jack Cuthbert, number eight Daniel Browne and flank Jonny Faamatuainu scored tries for the visitors, with Saints replying through left-wing Paul Diggin, flanker Mark Easter and replacement forward Soane Tonga'uiha and thirteen points from the boot of full-back Stephen Myler.

James, left out by South Africa as coach Peter de Villiers adopted a policy of selecting only home-based players for the autumn internationals, kicked Bath into an early 6-0 lead.

Northampton were penalised three times for offences at the ruck in the opening eleven minutes and James punished them twice.

However, the hosts hit back when Diggin, called up this morning after centre Chris Mayor failed a fitness test, scored their opening try in the fourteenth minute.

Number eight Roger Wilson made the break to split the Bath defence and visiting full-back Cuthbert committed himself as Northampton locks Juandre Kruger and Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe combined to send Diggin racing over in the corner, with Myler adding the touchline conversion.

Bath won possession from the restart and Cuthbert made almost instant amends, bouncing off four would-be tacklers on his charge to the line for his side's first try, converted by James who extended their lead to 16-7 with his third penalty in the 28th minute.

Myler reduced the deficit to six points with a 32nd-minute penalty but Bath looked dangerous every time they ran at the Saints defence.

A fast-handling move involving Cuthbert, Andrew Higgins and Peter Short should have produced a try when James threw out a long pass to substitute Shaun Berne but, with giant winger Matt Banahan outside him, Berne was tackled just short of the line.

Bath's second try came in the 37th minute when they controlled a close-range scrum superbly before Browne powered in.

Myler's second penalty enabled Northampton to stay in touch at 21-13 at half-time and they reduced the arrears to one seven minutes into the second half.

With referee David Rose playing advantage after a high challenge by Berne on Diggin, Bruce Reihana's kick bounced favourably for flanker Mark Easter who dived over and Myler landed the difficult conversion.

Northampton, in full flow, had the 13,473 sell-out crowd on their feet as they threw everything at the leaders.

Reihana almost crashed through and his centre partner James Downey twice went close, being hauled down just short of the line before crossing only to be held up by the combined effort of James and flanker Jonny Faamatuainu.

Saints' former All Blacks fly-half Carlos Spencer missed a drop-goal attempt, speedy winger Chris Ashton was just beaten to the ball by Banahan over the try-line as he chased his own kick and only some desperate last-ditch tackling by the visitors held Northampton at bay.

But Saints were not to be denied and they grabbed the lead for the first time in the 61st minute when Myler landed a stunning drop-goal from three metres inside his own half.

They stretched the lead to seven points five minutes later when Reihana, taking the ball from the base of a ruck, found forward replacement Soane Tonga'uiha, who made the most of his first touch of the ball by charging in for Northampton's third try.

Bath hit back to level the scores when Faamatuainu burst through for their third try, converted by James, to set the scene for a tension-packed finale in the last eight minutes.

Spencer narrowly missed with a 77th-minute drop-kick from the halfway line and Northampton continued to hammer away but the visitors held out.

The scorers:

For Northampton:

Tries: Diggin, Easter, Tonga'uiha

Con: Myler 2

Pen: Myler 2

Drop: Myler

For Bath:

Tries: Cuthbert, Browne, Faamatuainu

Con: James 2

Pen: James 3

Northampton: 15 Stephen Myler, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Chris Mayor, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana (c), 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Ben Foden, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Mark Easter, 6 Mark Hopley, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Barry Stewart, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Tom Smith.

Replacements: 16 Paul Shields, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Christian Day, 19 Ben Lewitt, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Nils Mordt, 22 Paul Diggin.

Bath: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Andrew Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett (c), 12 Eliota Fuimaono-sapolu, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Butch James, 9 Scott Bemand, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Jonny Faamatuainu, 6 Peter Short, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Barnes.

Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Stuart Hooper, 19 James Scaysbrook, 20 Mike Baxter, 21 Shaun Berne, 22 Michael Stephenson.

Referee: David Rose

Touch judges: Robin Goodliffe, Don Helme

Television match official: Brian Abrahams

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39