Premiership: Northampton Saints pick up bonus-point success over basement side Bath
Northampton bounced back from last weekend’s thumping at Bristol Bears by easing to a 45-26 victory over Bath in the Premiership on Friday.
Tries from Robbie Smith (2), Juarno Augustus, Angus Scott-Young, Tom Collins and James Grayson saw the Saints to a bonus-point win at Franklin’s Gardens.
Fin Smith converted five of those crossings and added a penalty goal as Bath remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership standings in a disastrous season.
The visitors’ try scorers were Tom de Glanville, Tom Dunn (2) and Tom Doughty, with Ben Spencer and Orlando Bailey contributing points off the kicking tee.
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On his 100th appearance for Northampton, Fraser Dingwall led them out and it was his run that should have seen Saints take an early lead.
Deep inside his own half, the centre stepped past two defenders on a 45-metre run. Number eight Augustus was up in support to collect Dingwall’s pass but Sam Graham knocked on to blow a golden opportunity.
Almost immediately, Bath made them pay by taking an eighth-minute lead when back-rowers Miles Reid and Josh Bayliss combined well to send De Glanville on a 30-metre run to the line.
Northampton‘s response was swift with first Robbie Smith finishing off a line-out drive before Augustus broke away from another to give them a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Saints lost prop Paul Hill to a yellow card for a deliberate offside with their opponents quickly capitalising when Dunn crashed over from a line-out.
The hosts then suffered a further blow when centre Matt Proctor was helped off with a leg injury to be replaced by Rory Hutchinson.
Hill returned from the sin-bin with no further damage done to the scoreboard and in time to see Bath lose centre Jonathan Joseph to a shoulder injury.
Northampton regained the lead with a straightforward penalty from Fin Smith to leave them with a 17-14 advantage at the end of a keenly-contested first half.
The home side began the second half strongly. A burst from Alex Waller took them close to Bath’s line and the pressure was maintained for Scott-Young to force his way over.
😇🛁 Northampton Saints bounce back as Bath lose again. #NORvBAT pic.twitter.com/Q4HUuIdkXv
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) March 10, 2023
Bath’s woes continued when first Bayliss was yellow carded for his team’s persistent offsides before Robbie Smith scored his second try from another line-out drive.
Bayliss returned from the sin-bin and his side were immediately rewarded with a second try for Dunn but Saints sealed victory by scoring the best of the night when they broke out of defence for Collins to win the race to touchdown Tommy Freeman’s kick ahead.
With five minutes remaining, Doughty scored Bath’s bonus-point try which saw them draw level with Newcastle on 27 points as the two clubs battle to avoid finishing bottom of the Premiership table but Saints had the final say with their sixth try scored by Grayson.
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