Planet Rugby

Saints end away blues

07th March 2009 17:31

Share:

Saints v Northampton Mach 7

Clearing his lines: Lee Dickson gets the ball clear

Northampton claimed a much-needed four points on Saturday as they defeated fellow strugglers Worcester 22-12 at Sixways Stadium.

It was the Saints' first away win for more than two years after seeing off and made thirteenth time lucky on the road, ending a run that began before they were relegated to National League One in 2007.

After surrendering a long unbeaten home record to Newcastle last weekend, Northampton responded in impressive fashion.

First-half tries by flanker Scott Gray and wing Paul Diggin put Saints in the driving seat.

And with fly-half Barry Everitt calling the tune, Worcester could not establish a foothold, trailing by twelve points at half-time.

Warriors goalkicker Willie Walker, on loan from neighbours Gloucester until the end of this season, booted four penalties, his last kick going over after Scotland international Gray was sin-binned.

Northampton though, were not to be denied as they climbed above reigning Premiership champions Wasps into eighth place, while Worcester remain twelve points above bottom club Bristol.

Substitute centre Joe Ansbro's late converted try confirmed Saints' success, and Worcester could have few complaints after a poor game when they rarely moved out of second gear.

Worcester, buoyed by a 13-12 victory over champions Wasps last time out, welcomed back overseas imports Chris Latham and Dale Rasmussen, while flanker Netani Talei replaced broken jaw victim Tom Wood.

Saints included England international Ben Foden at full-back - skipper Bruce Reihana moved to the wing - while England's reserve Six Nations hooker Dylan Hartley and Scotland prop Euan Murray returned from international duty.

Northampton made all the early running, with Everitt happier to use hand rather than boot as an attacking weapon, and Worcester had to resiliently man the barricades.

Everitt booted Saints ahead through a third-minute penalty, and with Foden consistently looking to attack from deep, the visitors dominated possession and territory.

Walker hauled the Warriors level with a penalty after a rare Worcester excursion outside their own half, yet Northampton weren't to be denied the try they deserved.

Superb approach work by centre James Downey made sufficient headway, and the supporting Gray powered over, leaving Worcester five points adrift.

It was the cue for a spell of sustained Warriors pressure, but they couldn't make it count.

Skipper Pat Sanderson twice sacrificed kickable penalty chances for attacking scrums, yet Northampton quashed the threat - and then struck another blow in spectacular fashion.

Everitt had the vision to attack from within the shadow of his own posts, and with scrum-half Lee Dickson proving an effective link-man, Diggin sprinted 60 metres for an opportunist score.

Everitt added the extras, leaving Worcester with a mountain to climb as they trudged off 15-3 adrift at half-time.

Worcester fans were aggrieved by the score, claiming Irish referee JP Doyle had missed a clear forward pass from Dickson to Diggin, but the Warriors knew they needed an immediate response.

Walker kicked two out of three penalty attempts during the third quarter, cutting Worcester's deficit to six points as Northampton looked in danger of sitting on their lead.

Another flash of attacking invention from Foden ensured Warriors retreated deep inside their own 22, and an increasingly-attritional contest played into Saints' superior territory game.

Walker's kicks had given Worcester hope, but both sides were visibly frustrated by Doyle's officiating that contributed towards the game's stop-start nature.

A fourth Walker strike increased the pressure on Saints, especially as they were down to 14 men following Gray's yellow card, but Ansbro scored Northampton's third try - converted by Everitt - and Worcester were sunk.

The scorers:

For Worcester:

Pen: Walker 4

For Northampton:

Tries: Gray, Diggin

Con: Everitt

Pen: Everitt

Worcester: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Alex Grove, 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Matt Powell, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Pat Sanderson (c), 6 Netani Talei, 5 Will Bowley, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.

Replacements: 16 Darren Morris, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Graham Kitchener, 19 James Collins, 20 Ryan Powell, 21 Joe Carlisle, 22 Miles Benjamin.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Paul Diggin, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana (capt), 10 Barry Everitt, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Scott Gray, 6 Neil Best, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Tom Smith.

Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Alex Rae, 19 Mark Hopley, 20 Stephen Myler, 21 Joe Ansbro, 22 Sean Lamont.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411