Planet Rugby

Saints blow Pool One wide open

Shane Geraghty Northampton v Munster 10/10/2009

Shane Geraghty and the Saints celebrate a famous victory

10th October 2009 20:02

Share:

Shane Geraghty scores Saints Munster HEC

Geraghty touches down

After Treviso shocked Perpignan earlier on Saturday, Northampton upset another Heineken Cup heavyweight with a nail-biting 31-27 win over Munster at Franklin's Gardens.

Chris Ashton scored two tries while Shane Geraghty contributed 21 points as the Saints showed once again that they are incredibly tough to beat at home.

Northampton now top Pool one ahead of Treviso, placing massive pressure on pre-season favourites Munster and Perpignan.

Geraghty produced a virtuoso performance in front of watching England manager Martin Johnson to help Northampton celebrate their return to the Heineken Cup after a three-season absence in a pulsating tie at Franklin's Gardens.

Northampton's fly-half scored one try and created two others which helped the Saints repeat their victory over Munster in the 2000 final in the previous meeting between these two clubs in the competition.

The three-time capped Geraghty, who has been included in Johnson's England Saxons Elite squad, turned a tight game Northampton's way with an opportunist score on the stroke of half-time - tapping and running a penalty when Munster expected him to kick for goal.

But it was Geraghty's 75th-minute penalty which finally killed off Munster's stirring fightback, led by four penalties from Ronan O'Gara and an opportunist try from Tomas O'Leary.

In the end Munster were left to regret a sleepy start in which they looked shaky early on. It was not until they were eight points down that the Irishmen began to play with any cohesion and conviction.

O'Gara was off target with an early penalty attempt, and the hesitancy of his half-back partner O'Leary was seized upon by an eager Northampton.

Geraghty nudged Northampton ahead with a ninth-minute penalty and then set up the opening try with a deft chip ahead that Munster full-back Paul Warwick fumbled. The ball bounced kindly for winger Chris Ashton, who dotted down.

Warwick partly atoned for his error when he opened Munster's account with a 50-metre drop goal, and the fightback continued with a superb try from counter-attack deep in their own half.

Keith Earls spotted that Northampton were over-committed in attack, and his kick through allowed supporting flanker David Wallace to pick up and cross for a try that O'Gara surprisingly failed to improve.

The kicking improved, Geraghty and O'Gara each slotting two penalties which left the scores level at 14-14.

Another Geraghty penalty appeared likely when Munster were penalised for handling in a ruck, but the Irish province made the elementary error of turning their backs on him. Instead of kicking for goal, Geraghty tapped the penalty and scythed through for a quick-thinking try which he also converted.

Munster probably thought they had gifted Geraghty that score. But there was no doubting the quality of the try Northampton's fly-half set up for Ashton five minutes into the second half, with a superb break and inside pass that gave the winger an easy run-in.

Geraghty took his points tally to 18 by adding the conversion but was off target with a 53rd-minute penalty - and O'Gara kept chipping away at Northampton's lead.

Munster maintained the pressure and set up a nerve-jangling finale when O'Leary snaked over from a short-side break from a scrum close to Northampton's 22. O'Gara reduced the lead to a point with a well-struck conversion.

But Geraghty had the final word, calmly slotting the winning penalty after Munster were penalised at a scrum in front of their own posts - although Northampton had to withstand a late forward barrage before they claimed the win.

The Scorers

For Northampton:
Tries:
Ashton 2, Geraghty
Cons:Geraghty 2
Pens:Geraghty 4

For Munster:
Tries:
Wallace, O'Leary
Con: O'Gara
Pens:O'Gara 4
Drop:Warwick

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Neil Best, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Santiago Bonorino, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Chris Mayor.

Munster: 15 Paul Warwick, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Paul O'Connell (c), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Jerry Flannery, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Denis Fogarty, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Darragh Hurley, 19 Mick O'Driscoll, 20 Niall Ronan, 21 Donncha Ryan, 22 Peter Stringer, 23 Ian Dowling.

Referee: Christophe Berdos

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 Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
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