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Match Report: Bath Rugby 32 Northampton Saints 30

10 Feb 2017
Match Report: Bath Rugby 32 Northampton Saints 30

Rhys Priestland nailed a last gasp penalty to seal an incredible game of rugby 32-30 in Bath Rugby’s favour after a stunning Northampton Saints comeback.

Saints were 22-9 down after tries from Paul Grant, Semesa Rokoduguni and a penalty try but fought back with a trio of scores from Ben Foden, Api Ratuniyarawa and Jamie Gibson.

Despite Chris Cook’s fine solo try, the Saints led 30-29 with just four minutes left on the clock.

Bath were not finished though and even when Priestland missed a shot at goal to retake the lead, the home side charged down the resulting clearance and forced another penalty.

This time, with the clock now passed 80 minutes, the Welsh fly-half held his nerve to give Bath the narrowest of victories and left the Saints with just a losing bonus point.

Grant got the first try of the evening for the home side after forcing his way over the line after a series of Bath phases in the Saints 22.

Stephen Myler reduced the deficit with a penalty before a second successful kick put the Saints in front after Bath were penalised at the breakdown.

But a excellently worked set piece move from a lineout restored Bath’s lead as Rokoduguni was sent through a hole to dot down under the posts on his 100th appearance for the club.

Bath’s momentum continued despite Tom Homer being brilliantly held up by Kevin Pisi in the left corner when a try seemed a certainty.

The home side were not to be denied for long as, from the resulting scrum, Wayne Barnes awarded them a penalty try and Priestland added the conversion.

And after Myler and Priestland exchanged penalties either side of half-time, Foden had the first try of the second half – his 42nd Aviva Premiership Rugby try.

Myler converted to bring Saints back within six points and the hosts were down to 14 men when Kane Palma-Newport was shown a yellow card.

And the man advantage paid dividends as replacement Api Ratuniyarawa forced his way over for his first Saints score and Stephen Myler held his nerve to earn a one-point lead entering the final ten minutes.

A moment of brilliance from Chris Cook almost immediately had Bath back in front as the young scrum-half, on the left wing, beat one Saints defender before chipping over Ahsee Tuala.

Cook beat the Saints full back to the bounce to kick the ball over the line and pounced on it before it could go dead for a try bonus point with Priestland’s conversion putting Bath ahead 29-23.

Gibson restored the Saints lead with just four minutes to go as Myler surpassed 2,500 points for Northampton with another successful conversion.

Trailing by a point, Bath earned a penalty with seconds left on the clock but Priestland was unable to find the target only for the Northampton clearance to be charged down.

Bath pushed to get over the line and earned another shot at the posts with Priestland making no mistake with his second attempt to secure a one-point bonus point victory.

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