Planet Rugby

Summit spot for four-try Saints

17th April 2010 16:52

Share:

Chris Ashton

Bang on form: Chris Ashton

Northampton Saints moved the top of the Guinness Premiership on Saturday thanks to a 38-23 bonus-point win over Gloucester at Franklin's Gardens.

Chris Ashton scored a hat-trick in a rematch of the LV= Cup final, but the Saints far from had it all their own way, with the visitors' persistence a key factor in making it a thrilling encounter.

The game started with the trading of penalties, but the next chance at points ended in a 10-point swing in the Saints favour.

Awarded a penalty in front of the posts, Gloucester's Jake Boer decided inexplicably to run the kickable chance and the ball was turned over inside Northampton's 22.

Ben Foden's thumping clearance earned a lineout from which the ball quickly found its way into the hands of Ashton.

The league's top try scorer put his foot down to race between defenders and under the posts with Stephen Myler converting.

Nevertheless, the visitors were enjoying their fair share of possession and employed the tactic of running from deep, James Simpson-Daniel in particular worrying the Northampton defence.

After kicking his first penalty of the day though, Nicky Robinson could not convert his and Gloucester's chances, missing two almost identical chances.

The next Gloucester attack again ended in points for the Saints as Ben Foden sliced apart the visiting backline in a superb counter-attack.

Ashton was almost released again and although he was hauled down short, play came back for another Myler penalty.

Gloucester hit back four minutes later as Simpson-Daniel managed to pop the ball up to Charlie Sharples to score.

Robinson was back on the mark with the extras and Gloucester were also back in the game.

There was still time for another Myler penalty, this time for offside, and although Gloucester attacked again, the gap stayed at six points at the break.

A frenetic second half started with Saints on the board first. Despite early pressure from the visitors, Myler's smart turnover set the platform for Dylan Hartley to cross from an Ashton offload.

Gloucester responded quickly with another Robinson penalty but Ashton was involved again to race through gaps in the Gloucester defence for his second and Northampton's third.

The game could have swung once more however when Hartley was sin-binned for killing the ball cynically.

Robinson slotted the simple penalty and although the Saints looked to have held out, Dave Attwood finished a patient Gloucester move just before Hartley returned.

With one score in it, the action moved from end to end but Shane Geraghty, on for Myler, struck a decisive penalty blow to take the Saints two scores clear.

With time up and Gloucester attacking, the Saints turned over and Bruce Reihana raced clear. To the surprise of the whole ground the Kiwi unselfishly popped the ball to Ashton inside the dead ball zone for the winger's hat-trick.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: Ashton 3, Hartley
Con: Myler 3
Pen: Myler 3, Geraghty

For Gloucester:
Tries: Sharples, Attwood
Con: Robinson 2
Pen: Robinson 3

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

Gloucester: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Jonny May, 12 Mike Tindall (capt), 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Adam Eustace, 7 Jake Boer, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Pierre Capdevielle, 19 Will James, 20 Peter Buxton, 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Olly Morgan.

Referee: Andrew Small

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
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 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
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
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
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province 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
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26