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Saints too strong for Bath

04 Sep 2004
Saints too strong for Bath

The Saints got their season off to a belter with a thoroughly comprehensive victory over last season's beaten Premiership finalists. They scored four tries, the last of which being an early entrant for try of the season, and outclassed the West Countrymen in all departments.

A disjointed opening quarter produced the usual handling errors as the teams looked to get to grips with their first competitive match. Paul Grayson set the scoreboard ticking after 17 minutes with a well-taken long-range penalty.

Then on the half-hour came the first try, Saints scrum-half Mark Robinson broke around the side of a ruck after Bath lock Steve Borthwick had coughed up the ball, and sent debutante winger Wylie Human over into the corner.

Then on the other wing, John Rudd made one of his trademark bullocking runs, which saw him into scorch home from 55 metres. Grayson slotted the kick and the Saints were threatening to run riot.

But Bath fly-half Chris Malone kept a cool head and his three penalties kept Bath in touch.

The turning point came when Saints substitute Ben Cohen burst through a gap to make 40 metres of ground before setting up the opening for Mark Tucker. Substitute Shane Drahm slotted the kick and the Saints were in control.

Then came the try of the day. Already leading 22-9, Northampton absorbed wave after wave of Bath pressure before pinching the ball on their own line to mount a counter-attack the length of the field. Mark Stcherbina performed some magic, and Tucker and Bruce Reihana exchanged passes before Reihana was sent clear on the pop from Rudd to round off a superlative move.

Based on this performance, Northampton are good early candidates for the Zurich Premiership crown.

The scorers:

For Northampton Saints:  Tries: Human, Rudd, Tucker, ReihanaCons: Drahm 2, GraysonPens: Grayson   Bath:   Tries: BeattiePens: Malone 3

For more news, try out Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby

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