Planet Rugby

Bittersweet defeat for Northampton

26th September 2010 16:53

Share:

Derick Hougaard drop against Northampton

24-point haul: Derick Hougaard

Northampton had their unbeaten start to 2010/11 ended on Sunday but did steal a late bonus point in a 24-17 loss to rivals Saracens at Vicarage Road.

Derick Hougaard was the man who sank Saints with a 24-point man-of-the-match effort that took his team into the top half of the Aviva Premiership.

However, Paul Diggin scored the game's only try in the last minute, crossing from a long pass to the right to secure the visitors a losers' bonus.

Saints began the day as the league's only unbeaten team, seeking to recapture the top spot they had lost overnight to London Irish.

But they were without England duo Chris Ashton and Courtney Lawes, both rested as part of the agreement between the Premiership clubs and the RFU which ensures Elite Player Squad members are not overplayed.

The visitors started the sharper and were ahead inside five minutes following a penalty by Shane Geraghty, awarded for a scrum offence.

Hougaard equalised from an eighth-minute penalty after Saints went offside in a ruck, but a clever kick-through by Geraghty should have led to a try for the visitors, only for Christian Day to fumble on the line.

Saracens were penalised for offside in front of their posts, and Geraghty kicked Northampton back into the lead and wasted a chance to increase it after 16 minutes when he hooked a penalty for a scrum collapse wide of the near post.

Saracens had another let-off in the 18th minute when Brad Barritt's attempted kick-through rebounded off a group of opponents and led to a straight chase for the line between Neil de Kock and Tom Wood. Dave Pearson consulted assistant referee Roy Maybank before agreeing that the Sarries scrum-half was first to the ball after it had crossed their line.

Northampton were giving their hosts a torrid time in the scrum where loosehead Deon Carstens was repeatedly penalised for not binding correctly.

Geraghty extended Northampton's lead to six points after 22 minutes when another scrum nosedived into the pitch but Northampton drifted offside and Pearson presented Hougaard with the opportunity to cut the deficit from 35 yards.

An early turning point came shortly afterwards when Hougaard took aim from 45 yards before firing an impressive drop-goal high between the posts to level the scores with a goal which had a galvanising effect on Saracens.

The hosts drove upfield, forcing Northampton to concede two penalties in quick succession. The first saw the home team continue to play advantage, so when Calum Clark promptly conceded a second penalty by trying to interfere with the drive Pearson sent him to the sin-bin as Hougaard kicked his fourth goal.

Another Hougaard goal six minutes from the break turned the game on its head as Northampton struggled with 14 men. Yet it was the visitors who finished the half as they began, with Geraghty's penalty 90 seconds from the interval giving them a 15-12 lead.

Referee Pearson awarded Saracens a penalty two minutes after the restart as Saints went offside in front of their posts in an attempt at desperate defence. Hougaard took advantage with goal number five.

Home pressure was rewarded in the 53rd minute when Northampton tried to halt an attack illegally, and Hougaard did brilliantly to kick a difficult goal for a right-footed player from wide out on the right wing.

Saracens now drove upfield at every opportunity, sucking in defenders, and one turned out to be fly-half Geraghty who not only got on the wrong side of a ruck in front of his posts, he failed to get clear fast enough to satisfy Pearson, who sent him to the bin in the 58th minute.

Hougaard kicked his eighth goal, before Diggin crossed for the visitors at the end.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Pen: Hougaard
Drop: Hougaard 7

For Northampton:
Try: Diggin
Pen: Geraghty 4

Saracens: 15 Nils Mordt, 14 David Strettle, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Deon Carstens.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Don Barrell, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Paul Diggin, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Phil Dowson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Easter, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Ryan Powell, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Jon Clarke.

Referee: Dave Pearson

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
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