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Match Report: Northampton Saints 11 Wasps 24

29 Jan 2016
Match Report: Northampton Saints 11 Wasps 24

Wasps moved up to fifth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with a convincing 24-11 win over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.

Coming into the game off the back of their stunning victory over Leinster at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps continued their fine form with a blistering opening 40 minutes.

Three tries from Dan Robson, Rob Miller and Josh Bassett gave them a commanding 24-3 lead at the break, leaving Franklin’s Gardens stunned.

And while Northampton recovered to have the better of the second half in tricky conditions, they never really threatened a comeback, slipping to a first home loss to Wasps in over a decade.

The only disappointment for Dai Young will be his side’s failure to pick up a try-bonus point, but they closed the gap on the top four and the play-off places.

After an early Jimmy Gopperth penalty, it was Robson who got Wasps's first try, showing his intelligence as he broke through before his momentum took him into the base of the post where he dotted down.

Gopperth added the simplest of conversions, and from there Wasps were a constant threat with ball in hand.

Miller was the key man, and after one break from Nathan Hughes, the full-back scooped up a loose ball and shook off a couple of tackles to cross and stretch the lead to 17-0.

Saints responded with their first points of the game, thanks to a Stephen Myler penalty on 27 minutes, but a minute later, Wasps were over again.

Miller was again involved, collecting a loose kick, beating two men including a desperate Myler, before feeding Bassett inside him to race over. Gopperth’s conversion made it 24-3 and the game seemed to be slipping away from the home side.

They responded well, piling the pressure onto Wasps with a long passage of possession on the Wasps line.

The visitors were warned after a succession of penalties, but just as a try or a card seemed inevitable, Northampton knocked on and Wasps were able to clear their lines and go in 21 points up at half-time.

Saints needed to respond immediately and their task was made easier when Hughes was sin-binned two minutes into the second half.

Myler slotted the resulting penalty, but Northampton couldn’t take advantage of their extra man, with Wasps keeping them out for the remainder of the ten minutes.

Still, the home side were looking more dangerous, with the introduction of Lee Dickson helping them speed up the game and push Wasps back.

But despite that, they were struggling to find a way through, with Wasps able to manage the game knowing the clock was on their side.

Northampton finally managed to score their first try with eight minutes remaining, as Dickinson collected a loose ball which had been ripped after a great initial break from Luther Burrell.

JJ Hanrahan, on for Myler, missed the conversion, and Saints still trailed by 13 points with time running out.

And they couldn't find their way through to even grab a losing bonus point, and now trail Wasps by two points in sixth.

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