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 , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821