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 , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26