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Northampton Saints 23 London Welsh 16

24 Nov 2012
Northampton Saints 23 London Welsh 16

Northampton Saints overcame a slow start to battle past London Welsh 23-16 and end a run of three straight Aviva Premiership defeats.

A penalty try and a further score from Ken Pisi allowed Saints to overcome a defiant Welsh team, who had taken an early lead through a penalty try of their own.

In the end Welsh had to rely on a late penalty from fly-half Gordon Ross to secure a losing bonus point as they maintained their battle for survival.

The visitors got the perfect start to the game when they set up a huge maul and marched Saints back from their own 22 all the way under the posts.

With a try looking inevitable, South African No.8 GJ van Velze pulled the maul down illegally, leaving referee David Rose with little choice but to give a penalty try and a yellow card. Ross slotted the simple conversion to make it 7-0.

Despite being a man down, Saints hit back quickly through a Ryan Lamb drop goal but Ross responded with a penalty.

However with the return of van Velze Saints began to gain the ascendancy and got their revenge on the Exiles with a powerful rolling maul of their own which was pulled down by Welsh – Franck Montanella receiving a yellow card as a result.

A man down it was always going to be difficult for Welsh to resist and, after three penalties conceded at a five-metre scrum they conceded a penalty try. Lamb’s conversion made it 10-10.

It got worse for the visitors when Dan Caprice misjudged a high ball and took out Jamie Elliott, becoming the third player to be sent to the sin bin.

Northampton took full advantage thanks to a moment of inspiration from Lamb. After an initial break from Dom Waldouck the ball was recycled and the fly-half produced a beautiful kick for Pisi to go over in the corner. Lamb converted to make it 17-10 at the break.

Northampton made the better start to the second half, with an early Lamb penalty extending their lead to ten points.

They looked to have made the decisive break but Welsh hit back thanks to another three points from Ross.

That came after full-back Tom Arscott had missed a penalty from inside his own half for the Exiles, and he did the same again just before the hour.

Lamb stretched the lead once more with another penalty as Northampton led 23-13 with just15 minutes remaining.

The Exiles needed a score to at least claim a losing bonus point and with seven minutes remaining Ross just managed to knock over his third penalty of the afternoon.

And although Saints continued to press, they could not find another score as they comfortably played out the game.

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