Saints see off Sarries
November 14, 2009
Northampton's Ben Foden is tackled by Sarries' Alex Goode © Getty Images
Northampton Saints ended Saracens' 100% domestic record this season with a convincing 19-3 win over the Guinness Premiership leaders in a surprisingly one-sided Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Franklin's Gardens.
Wingers Chris Ashton and Bruce Reihana both touched down for the hosts, while Stephen Myler contributed nine points with the boot. Sarries managed just a solitary penalty from Alex Goode by way of a reply.
Remarkably, Goode's kick had actually opened the scoring but Sarries' lead did not last long, with Ashton touching down in the corner after winning the race to a measured kick forward from Ben Foden, who had cut the visitors' defence to shreds with a blistering break.
Myler failed to convert and saw another three points go begging in the 37th minute. However, he went some way towards making amends by landing a penalty in the dying seconds of the half after Tom Mercey had been pinged for hands in the ruck, an offence which earned the Sarries replacement prop a yellow card.
Sarries performed quite well with just 14 men, restricting their host to just three points from the boot of Myler, but after being restored to their full complement they fell further behind, Reihana crashing over from close range in the 55th minute.
Myler squandered the extras once more but he stroked over another penalty in the closing stages to put the game well beyond Sarries.
Toby Flood made his first appearance in more than six months to help Leicester kick-start their Anglo-Welsh campaign with a hard-fought 29-20 win over the Dragons at Welford Road.
Flood, who ruptured an Achilles tendon in the Heineken Cup semi-final against Cardiff on May 3, came on as a replacement midway through the second half. Flood took over the kicking duties from Jeremy Staunton and landed two important penalties which helped Leicester, missing 19 players through injury and international calls, snuff out a potential fightback from a spirited Dragons side.
A try from ditched England No.8 Jordan Crane and two penalties from Jeremy Stanton had give them a commanding lead but first Jason Tovey and then Aled Brew, with a length of the field effort, hit back. Leicteser re-grouped and forged ahead again through Anthony Allen and sealed the win with a penalty try after several scrum infringements.
A Ryan Lamb penalty nine minutes from time gave London Irish a 12-11 victory over Cardiff Blues in Cardiff on Sunday afernoon.
Irish led 9-3 at half time thanks to the boot of Peter Hewat but a Ceri Sweeney penalty and fomer Exile Richie Rees's 51st minute try put the hosts in front. But Toby Booth's men fought back to set substitute Lamb up for the winner.
Sweeney did have one last chance to win the game for the Blues, but his 50m penalty effort drifted wide giving Irish their first win in the competition this season and condemn Cardiff to their first defeat in six Anglo-Welsh Cup games.
Harlequins won well at Newcastle Falcon thanks largely to the boot of fly-half Rory Clegg who kicked 14 of his side's 19 points in their 19-8 victory.
Winger Sam Smith scored 'Quins only try after a half an hour when he collected his own chip ahead, while second half penalties from ex-Falcon Clegg made the score 19-3 before substitute Michael Tait grabbed a consolation for the hosts.
London Wasps produced a strong second half to secure a home win over Gloucester at Adams Park.
Eoghan Hickey opened the scoring for Wasps but it was Gloucester who took the initiative and 7-3 at the break thanks to Freddie Burns' try and conversion.
Burns' second try and conversion early in the second half put the visitors 14-3 up, but Wasps fought back with Tom Varndell and Joe Simpson grabbing tries on the way to a 21-14 win.
Luke Watson, the most controversial figure in South African rugby, made an instant impact on his debut for Bath with the try that swung their tie against the Ospreys towards a 21-11 victory.
Watson came off the bench at half-time to stamp his mark on the game, showing just why Bath have signed the inspirational back row from Western Province.
Daniel Browne, also making his first appearance of the season, rounded things off with a last-minute try as Bath clinched their first win in any competition for two months and their first at home in this campaign. Ospreys newcomer Justin Tipuric scored a try in vain for the visitors.
Rhys Priestland helped himself to a personal haul of 17 points as the Scarlets eased past a youthful Worcester side 32-17 on a bitterly cold afternoon at Parc y Scarlets to take a grip on top spot in Pool 2.
The 22-year-old scored a try and kicked three conversions and two penalties as the west Wales side marked the first anniversary of their move to their new home in fine style. The hosts led 20-3 at the break thanks to tries from wing Darren Daniel and captain David Lyons plus two conversions and two penalties from fly-half Priestland, George Crook kicking a solitary penalty for Worcester.
Further tries followed for the Scarlets from full-back Daniel Evans and a superb solo effort from Priestland, while No.8 Matt Cox and lock Graham Kitchener got consolation scores for the Warriors.
Sale recorded a comfortable 27-3 bonus-point win over rivals Leeds but the real test for both sides will come at Headingley next Sunday when they meet again in the Guinness Premiership.
All the points were scored in the first half as Sale ran in four tries to lead 27-3 and keep alive their hopes of progressing in the tournament. Leeds led through an early penalty from rising star Joe Ford but Sale asserted their authority on proceedings by running in tries from Marika Vakacegu, Oriol Ripol, Rob O'Donnell and David Seymour.
The result was a welcome tonic for Sale ahead of next week's rematch in the Premiership when Leeds will be aiming to claim a first-ever and potentially season-defining victory over their northern foes.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape