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Northampton Saints 46 London Welsh 0

09 May 2015
Northampton Saints 46 London Welsh 0

Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson both crossed over twice to secure Northampton Saints top spot in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season thanks to a bonus-point triumph over London Welsh at Franklin’s Gardens.

Despite a frustrating opening period, Dickson’s close-range effort following a catch and drive and a moment of magic from Ken Pisi to set up Ahsee Tuala gave Saints a 17-0 lead at the interval.

Tuala then made a sublime break of his own to help Dickson score his second, before Burrell injected new life into a fading contest by grabbing two tries in quick succession to ensure the bonus point.

The Exiles had threatened to mount a comeback before Burrell’s exploits but that double salvo just after the hour put Saints firmly in control as Jamie Elliott also touched down late on.

This six-try showing guarantees the reigning champions will finish top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table this year as they also secured a second consecutive home semi-final.

The hosts stated their intent early on as fly-half Stephen Myler kicked two penalties in quick succession to the Welsh 22 but the visitors held firm to clear.

Northampton then secured a five-metre lineout but Welsh were able to resist the driving maul before winning a penalty to prevent the Saints crossing over.

After Tuala failed to release Elliott, the Saints finally had their first try as scrum half Dickson touched down following a catch and drive from short range, with Myler converting to make it 7-0 on 13 minutes.

Saints continued to be frustrated by their own imprecision until a moment of magic from Ken Pisi, the Samoan scything through the Welsh defence to send Tuala over as Myler added the extras to make it 14-0 on 28 minutes.

The Exiles responded by surging toward the Saints try line, taking a quick tap-and-go penalty for Opeti Fonua to dive over but the try was not awarded with the penalty not being taken from the right spot.

Despite a series of penalties in the opponents 22, the visitors were unable to fashion an opening as Northampton disrupted a catch and drive to get the put in at the scrum and clear.

A surging break from Samu Manoa then put Saints on the front foot, only for the ball to go to ground again as Myler settled for a simple penalty to make it 17-0 at the interval.

Another penalty shortly after the restart saw Myler again opt for a kick at goal, duly putting his side 20 points ahead.

Saints had a third try moments later as Tuala burst clear, stepping inside to provide a deft offload to George Pisi, whose inside ball found Dickson to dive over before Myler missed the conversion to leave it at 25-0.

A series of reset scrums ensued, with the Exiles eventually winning a penalty that Olly Barkley kicked to the corner only to be forced onto the defence soon after as substitute Nathan Morris got back to cover Elliott’s kick ahead.

Jess Liston came on to make his Aviva Premiership Rugby debut for the Exiles but his side were soon further behind as Burrell showed his strength to barge over and Myler converted, with the score 32-0 just after the hour.

Northampton were able to withdraw Myler for James Wilson but upped their attacking intent as Burrell spotted a gap, handing off the covering defender to touch down, Wilson drilling the conversion to make it 39-0.

Wilson was on target again in the 73rd minute after Elliott forced his way over in the corner as Saints controlled the final stages to keep the score at 46-0.

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