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News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish

By Ben Dover
May 10 2015

Like the lady that used to be tantalisingly revealed on those cheap cigarette lighters we all bought on our school trips to France, the Aviva Premiership is slowly exposing a shapely end of season ankle    





Northampton Saints 46 – 0 London Welsh

Aviva Premiership Round 21

9th May 2015

Welsh Workout Secures League Top Spot

With Bath qualifying on Friday night and Leicester, Wasps, Exeter and Saracens all battling for the final two spots, the focus was away from Franklins Gardens for this encounter against London Welsh.

In some respects it was no less important for Northampton who with Leicester to play next weekend needed a five-point win to historically secure their first ever League Champions status (that’s me using the Barnet Copthall vernacular).  So whilst everyone at the Gardens this afternoon was aware of the implications there was a palpable sense that this encounter was just a speed bump on the road to retaining the prize.

As is right and proper Saints paid appropriate respect to their fellow professionals in the build-up, however five points was never going to be in doubt and with bellies of warm spring beer and the comedic stoicism of the Welsh company, the on terrace laissez faire harked back to more traditional times.

So much so that when Lee Dickson burrowed over in the 13th minute the thirteen thousand or so continued to chat amongst themselves, blissfully unaware that Andrew Small’s raised arm was confirmation of a try.

From the off the pressure was all Northampton’s and whilst Welsh defended to the best of their abilities Saints were guilty of an over-eagerness which saw them trying to force opportunities that weren’t there. Overrunning the ball and fizzing hard flat un-needed passes. It was as if the spring had been overwound in the two weeks since stadium MK and because it wasn’t meeting the resistance it required, everything was unwinding a double speed.

The game had the feel of a pre-season friendly as if players from both sides were still trying to understand each other.  Sadly for Welsh the ability to get by on individual skills wasn’t there, thankfully for Saints it was.  Those who had identified Ken Pisi as a leading light this season might well allow themselves a quiet moment of smug self-satisfaction.  He thoroughly enjoyed his afternoon, not least when returning a clearance kick, single handily storming through a 3rd of the cerise coloured visitors and releasing newly adopted son Tuala who used his not inconsiderable power to take the ball and remaining Welsh team over the line.

With just a penalty added before the break Saints trotted in 17 – 0 up and half way to their five-point target.  For symmetries sake Stephen Myler added another 3 points on the other side of halftime before Lee Dickson secured his brace just a minute later, Ken Pisi involved again in a superb break from deep.

Opportunities now began to offer themselves across the park and whilst still making some unforced errors Northampton’s game was becoming tighter and if you’ll allow me the satisfaction of a truly dreadful pun the Welsh defence leekier.

Halfway through the second half Burrell took advantage of the weak defending and his own power and pace to pick up a personal double and match the recently replaced Dickson. Northampton were gaining so much success in midfield everyone wanted in on the action.

The only cloud to accompany the silver lining was the withdrawal of Stephen Myler who took what looked like a bang to the knee.  No point allowing this particular diamond to be stolen from our Saintly deposit box so late in the season.


Bonus point and League position secure there was one more opportunity for Jamie Elliot to earn one for the hard working but so far unrewarded wingers union.

So the end of the regular season at home.  Difficult to draw any hard and fast conclusions from this encounter and perhaps a good match back after two weeks off?  London Welsh are by someway the league’s poorest team and on this observance will find the Championship equally hard work.

Saints never hit the highest highs, were at times ragged and I’m sure not as efficient as they would have liked.  The Scrum was never a problem, the lineout not one hundred percent clean and the accuracy behind the pack wanting on occasion.  But as we’ve seen with this team in the Premiership it regularly deceives the eye and yet comes up with the results when asked.

For what shall it profit a team that they should gain the League, and yet lose the title? To paraphrase St Mark's gospel. We are all thinking it, we have all seen it happen, and last season Saints were the perpetrators of the crime.  Now the onus is on Northampton to man the barricade and defend the title.  It’s not Jim’s style to back down and there’s no better place to test your resolve and start the run in, than at Welford road.


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News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish (IP Logged)
10/05/2015 14:14
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Re: News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish
St Marlowe (IP Logged)
10/05/2015 14:19
Thank's Mr D - sorry for the delay in posting this (Delayed by the incredibly poor online booking for STH tickets for the Semi sad smiley
Still unsuccessful)

A good read with some relevant metaphors!

David L

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

- Live wrong and preposterously

Flinstone Saint
Re: News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish
Flinstone Saint (IP Logged)
10/05/2015 15:17
Thanks Ben. Excellent report.


Please sponsor me for Saints with Heart []

Re: News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish
SaintED (IP Logged)
10/05/2015 20:43
For what shall it profit a team that they should gain the League, and yet lose the title? To paraphrase St Mark's gospel ~ Ben Dover

smiling smiley Think that's my favourite single line in a match report this season. Excellent report.

For anyone who wasn't there or didn't see it earlier it is now up on the "full matches" section of the Rugby Premiership site.

Lots of credit to London Welsh. They've had a tough season and even though Small seemed to let a lot go they still defended very well in the first half. Although it was a "nilling" it doesn't really reflect the game as they turned down many chances to take shots at the post in favour or trying to get something more. That said lots of very good and disciplined defence close to our line with Lawes, Clark and Day doing sterling work. Good to see ball kept in hand and some decent kicking from hand too. Myler also had a excellent day from the spot.

In terms of next week its time for West to really earn his salary. Our scrum was exposed a couple of times by London Welsh and whether or not Smalls interpretation was right the number of times he pinged Waller he was lucky to still be on the field. Tigs are looking ominous there and I think a big step up is require just for parity. We also seem to have stopped clearing rucks like we did so excellently recently. Tigs win will have hopefully acted as a reminder of the need to secure and control the breakdown.

A very nervous week ahead.

Re: News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish
St Dormouse (IP Logged)
11/05/2015 15:17
Thoroughly enjoyed your report Ben. Lovely use of the English language.

Re: News: Saints Nil Welsh and secure a top of the Table Finish
harryw (IP Logged)
12/05/2015 08:45
Is it my internet connection or does anyone else have trouble loading the premiership TV games?

Perhaps it is due to me being overseas?

I have no trouble picking games if they are on Youtube any answers appreciated.


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