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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Castres vs Leinster14:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Brive vs Zebre19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade FrancaisTBC
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615