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Match Report: Northampton Saints 15 Bath Rugby 14

30 Apr 2016
Match Report: Northampton Saints 15 Bath Rugby 14

Northampton Saints mounted a superb second-half comeback to beat Bath Rugby at Franklin’s Gardens, Stephen Myler landing the decisive conversion with just eight minutes remaining.

Mike Ford’s side looked set to claim their first win at Northampton since 2000, as two Jeff Williams scores inside the opening 20 minutes put them 14-0 up at the break.

But Saints fought back with man-of-the-match Teimana Harrison scoring the first try before Mike Haywood popped up with just eight minutes remaining to register a vital five points.

Myler – who had landed a penalty inbetween the tries – kept his nerve with the conversion that put his team ahead for the first time.

The result sees Northampton move up to fifth in the Aviva Premiership standings, leapfrogging Sale Sharks and enhancing their chances of securing a top-six finish.

Saints had been hit with an injury blow before kick-off as Ben Foden was ruled out.

And the man who came in for him, Harry Mallinder, was to endure a moment of bad fortune early on as his slip handed Williams the chance to score for Bath.

Rhys Priestland added the extras and Bath thought they had scored again soon after as Anthony Watson danced through the floundering home defence, but referee Wayne Barnes ruled it out for a forward pass from Jonathan Joseph in the build-up.

Northampton had ridden their luck, but they were to fall on the wrong side of fortune soon after as Williams scored again.

Luther Burrell lost the ball while his side were on the attack, and after Joseph kicked forward, Williams did likewise, pouncing on his own punt to score.

Priestland made it 14-0 at the end of a bizarre opening 20 minutes, and Northampton were left shell-shocked.

Try at they might the home side couldn't break through until a minute before the break when George North put the ball down in the corner, but again the try was ruled out by the TMO for a forward pass in the build-up from Mallinder to North.

Northampton had been unable to register a point in the first half and they were hampered by an injury to Kieran Brookes at the start of the second.

But Bath were soon down to 14 men as scrum-half Chris Cook was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, and Northampton were to respond through Harrison’s try.

Myler missed the tricky touchline conversion in windy conditions, but he soon landed a penalty to cut the gap to six points.

Tom Wood looked to have got his team's second try but was held up at the last.

Nevertheless, Northampton kept coming and an unstoppable lineout drive saw Haywood grab the crucial try.
Myler then kept his cool to land the conversion and secure a vital victory that was greeted with a huge roar by the Franklin’s Gardens crowd.

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