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News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point W

By St Martin
September 28 2014

This Saturday saw the current leaders of the Aviva Premiership,  Bath Rugby visit Franklin’s Gardens. A glorious sunny September day bode well for a fast running game that both teams possess and both teams duly delivered.                




Aviva Premiership Round 3

Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby

Franklin's Gardens Saturday 27th September 

KO 3:15


Saints 31 Bath 24


Saints were missing Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood to injury but welcomed back Stephen Myler to oppose the current darling of the media - George Ford.

The first half started with Saints the stronger, a statement to say this is our patch and we are the champions, with breaking runs by both Ben Foden and George North taking the ball deep into Bath territory. The ball was eventually spun out to the right wing and a 3 man overlap seemed a given to score the try when the despairing hand of the Bath fullback stopped the movement. With the crowd baying for a penalty try Sir went to the TMO who duly confirmed that a try would have been scored. Sir raised his arm behind the posts then raised his hand again to brandish yellow and the fullback left the field to spend 10 minutes on the naughty step. Try converted and Saints led 7-0. Saints now with a man advantage again worked their way up the slope towards Bath’s 22, then a sniping run by George Pisi had the Bath defence in disarray, the ball again was recycled quickly from the ruck and the ball was moved to the right wing where Calum Clark dived over unopposed. Stephen Myler converted from out wide and Saints now led 14-0. Bath responded well showing that this is a team who will be battling for those precious top 4 places this season and after sustained pressure an inside pass to David Wilson which looked dubious to the say the least was scrambled over the Saints line, Sir again asked the TMO and this time he swayed in Baths favour, the try was converted and the lead was halved, Saints now leading 14-7. The rest of the half saw both teams probing through midfield with the Saints line being broken twice but great defence by Ben Foden snuffed out these opportunities. A misdemeanour on each side saw penalties converted by the fly halves and Saints headed down the tunnel for a well earned orange leading 17-10.

The second half started as per the first half with Saints in the ascendancy, and pushing the Bath defence backwards down the slope. Again fast work at the breakdown fed Ben Foden who expertly drew the defenders towards him before flicking a perfectly timed pass out to Christian Day on the left wing to drive over taking a defender with him. Again from out wide Myler did the necessary and Saints extended the lead to 24-10. Saints smelt the bonus try and wave after wave of attack was ever more frantically repelled by the Bath defence until a kick from deep was taken by Saints just inside the Bath half on the right, strong runs and passing by Ben Foden and George North sent George Pisi heading down the left wing with George Ford as the last defender. A typical South Sea Islander “side step” saw Pisi crash over the line and the Try Bonus point was secured. Myler converted and Saints now held a seemingly unassailable 31-10 lead. At this point the never ending conveyor belt of players departing and replacements emerging from the shadows of the Churches stand began and it seemed to galvanize Bath and unsteady Saints. Bath penalties took them up field and after moving the ball first right then left a channel opened up and Gavin Henson chose a great running line and with pin point timing he went through to then feed the wing Olly Woodburn to cross the line and stroll towards the posts. Game on now with the try converted and Saints lead cut to 31-17. Both teams now traded attacks before Bath started using the rolling maul to good effect, a penalty on the right hand side took them to within 10 metres of the Saints try line and the driving maul from the resulting line out saw replacement hooker Auterac drop over the line, Saints supporters groaned as the try was converted and the lead was now down to 7, Saints 31 Bath 24. The final 5 minutes seemed to last forever with Bath taking up residence in the Saints half with Saints unable to escape. A Bath penalty saw another kick go deep into the Saints 10m and we all knew what was coming. The impressive Attwood again rose highest to take the ball and the well drilled pack took up their positions as the ball was inched towards the Saints line. A sudden flurry as Bath and Saints bodies fell to the ground and Sir went upstairs for guidance once again. I was fearing the worst but it appears captain Dylan Hartley had managed to get his frame between ball and ground and the no try waving of arms brought a huge sigh of relief from the stands. The game was not over as from the resulting scrum Bath then attacked one flank then the other but the Saints defence resisted and held firm until a Bath mistake saw Sir blow his whistle to end proceedings, Phew, Saints the victors 31-24.

A thoroughly entertaining game between 2 of the teams that will surely be in the mix come end of season. Both teams have genuine threats all over the field and good set piece to spring attacks from. The end of the game saw Dylan Hartley collect the man of the match bubbly although personally I would of handed this to either Ben Foden who looked back to his best form or Christian Day who was both impressive in both attack and defence.


Dylan Hartley & Ben Foden say

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News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point w (IP Logged)
28/09/2014 19:33
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Casual Saint
Re: News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point w
Casual Saint (IP Logged)
29/09/2014 09:00
Thanks for the report, certainly captures the agony of the last 5 mins. I agree about Foden (best game for 2 seasons) and Day (seemed to be on a personal mission), both played outstandingly.

One thing I would add - I though Kyle Eastmond was outstanding, quick feet and a strong core made him very difficult to stop and he looked a threat every time he had the ball. I would love to see him playing like that in an England shirt.

Once a scrum half .... always a scrum half

Re: News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point w
Sarge (IP Logged)
29/09/2014 12:33
Excellent report.

Flinstone Saint
Re: News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point w
Flinstone Saint (IP Logged)
29/09/2014 12:38
Many thanks, St Martin. A good read over lunch.


Please sponsor me for Saints with Heart []

Eif Jones
Re: News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point w
Eif Jones (IP Logged)
30/09/2014 03:58
About time Bath gave Henson more game time (as they should have done in the Euro final), his introduction changed the game Bath's way. As well as his run and pass, twice his kicks changed field position from defence to attack and were pre-cursors to 2 of their tries. I note on the BBC site one of the Bath coaches all but relented.

Re: News: Saints hold off a feisty Bath side for a bonus point w
MarchingIn (IP Logged)
01/10/2014 00:05
Much as it pains me... agree Bath were a different and far more dangerous looking side with the perma-tanned Welsh poser.

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