Planet Rugby

Saints set up final with Leicester

11th March 2012 14:45

Share:

Dominic Day taking contact for Scarlets

Yellow card: Dominic Day

It will be an all-English final in the LV= Cup this season after Northampton defeated the Scarlets 27-12 to set up a showdown with Leicester at Sixways.

In a combination which worked to perfection, the experience of older heads like Tom Wood and Stephen Myler proved crucial in setting a platform for younger players such as Scott Armstrong and Alex Waller to show their worth in the semi-final.

With Franklin's Gardens bathed in sunshine and a final as the prize for the winners, both sides opened the game in positive fashion and only James Craig's try-saving tackle on the line prevented the Scarlets from taking an early lead.

The visitors looked sure to open the scoring on a number of occasions as they scythed through the Saints defence but some huge hits, in particular from Paul Diggin, kept the Welsh side at bay in a fast and furious first ten minutes.

As a signal of their intent to progress to the final, Saints used their first penalty in Scarlets territory to kick to the corner and put pressure on the visitors. It was a decision that was to prove well-judged as Saints powered towards the line from the resulting line-out and Waller crashed over for the opening score.

The try was just what the doctor ordered for the Saints who had started on the back foot and the ever-reliable Stephens of Myler and Jones exchanged penalties as the game continued at a rapid pace, giving supporters of both teams plenty to cheer about.

Scarlets had run well from deep in the opening exchanges but mistakes with ball in hand were beginning to give the Saints a platform on which to take the game by the scruff of the neck. It was one of those errors that proved costly as Myler punished them from the tee.

The mistakes from the Welshmen were becoming infectious as Saints conceded a soft penalty for offside straight from the restart to the frustration of Jim Mallinder and his coaching staff. Jones made no mistake with the kick and he reduced the gap to seven points as the game hung in the balance after an enthralling first 40 minutes.

A ten-minute half-time break had evidently done nothing to rid the game of the errors that affected the first half and Jones hauled the Scarlets back to within four points following side entry by the Saints as the hosts inflicted all the damage on themselves.

As annoyed as Mallinder would have been with the previous ill-discipline, so he would have been delighted with his team's response. Excellent work from Vasily Artemyev kept the ball in play on the right-hand touchline and Saints span the ball from right to left looking desperately for the opening. Quick ball was delivered superbly by Martin Roberts and Armstrong was the man over, the young winger diving over the line in the left corner to give the home side their second score.

Another wonderful covering tackle from Diggin stopped Scarlets from hitting back straight away but the full-back was powerless to prevent Jones from reducing the arrears with another penalty goal as the visitors refused to lie down, despite some big hits.

Myler's third penalty was a deserved reward for the Saints after forcing Scarlets into more handling errors and his fourth just minutes later looked set to kill off the visitors' stubborn resistance as the gap between the teams stretched out to twelve points in the final quarter.

Scarlets were in danger of being kicked out of the competition in every sense and as they made efforts to find the score which would get them back into the encounter, they were met with a green, black and gold wall at every turn as the Saints kept them out.

Despite movement on the scoreboard slowing down in the final ten minutes, the action on the field certainly wasn't letting up. James Downey and Scarlets' Dominic Day were both shown yellow in separate incidents before Ryan Lamb slotted through his first penalty to complete the scoring and send the Saints to next weekend's final at Sixways Stadium.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: Waller, Armstrong
Con: Myler
Pen: Myler 4, Lamb

For Scarlets:
Pen: Jones 4

Northampton: 15 Paul Diggin, 14 Vasily Artemyev, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark (capt), 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Andy Long, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 James Downey.

Scarlets: 15 Dan Newton, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Gareth Maule (capt), 12 Adam Warren, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Matt Gilbert, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Nick Reynolds, 23 Iongi Viliame.

Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Andrew Watson
Television match official: Trevor Fisher

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615