Borders 19 Northampton 29: Borders grounded by Cohen's quick double

Northampton boosted their hopes of a place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup with a solid bonus-point win over the Borders in a match switched from storm-lashed Netherdale to Murrayfield at very short notice. The Saints now face Biarritz at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday to decide who will progress as winners of Pool Six.

The referee, George Clancy of Ireland, was of the opinion that the Gala ground was unplayable. The Northampton coach, Paul Grayson, was in agreement, so the game moved to Edinburgh and the Northampton players, not to mention the supporters who had an extra 100 miles to travel, would not be at home until at least midnight.

The Borders coach, Steve Bates, argued that his side would be deprived of home advantage and that his ground was playable.

Peter Brown, the citing commissioner for the match, also inspected the pitch. "In the final analysis the referee decides, but I have seen far worse here and almost everywhere else," said the former Scotland captain, who had a long career with Gala.

Either way, the decisions reflect poorly on rugby in Scotland and the referee. Would the decision have been made if Sky had been televising the game?.

Eventually, after a 5pm kick-off in the capital, the Borders hooker Ross Ford scored a smart try in the left corner. Calum MacRae failed with the conversion. The Kiwi flanker Paul Tupai, who is making something of a name for himself at Franklin's Gardens, grabbed a try back, which Carlos Spencer converted before adding a penalty.

Simon Danielli, with an alert interception on the right touchline, sped away for a surprise try at the posts to put the Borders level, and this time MacRae converted for a 12-10 lead, though he missed with a subsequent penalty.

With half-time approaching the full-back Paul Diggin scored a second try for Northampton. Spencer added the points, so at half-time it was 17-12 to the English club.

Ben Cohen, the Saints winger who is in the England Saxons squad and who has not scored a try for Northampton since injury in October, snaffled two cracking touchdowns at the start of the second half.

For the first, he showed a flash of remarkable pace to score at the posts. Spencer converted. His next try, which added a bonus point, was not converted.

MacRae then received a terrific pass from Gregor Townsend and converted his own score. Although the Borders then played some attacking rugby, with the lock Stuart Grimes to the fore, they could find no way breach the Northampton defence.

Borders: Tries Ford, Danielli, MacRae; Conversions MacRae 2. Northampton: Tries Tupai, Diggin, Cohen 2; Conversions Spencer 3; Penalty Spencer.

Borders: C MacRae (capt); S Danielli, G Law, B Rennie, (S Jones, 25), B Daniel (M Robertson, 12); G Townsend, R Christie; G Kerr (E Calman, 40), R Ford, B Douglas, S Grimes, O'Paepoi (R Vernon, 73), S Newlands, (J Dalziel, 48), A Miller, K Brown.

Northampton: P Diggin, (R Laird, 74); S Lamont, B Cohen, R Kydd, J Howard; C Spencer, M Robinson; T Smith, S Thompson, (capt; D Hartley, 63), P Barnard, C Short, D Gerard (M Lord, 63), P Tupai (C Budgen, 33-40), D Fox, (B Lewitt, 63), D Brown (M Easter, 80).

Referee: G Clancy (Ireland).

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable