Myler seizes his chance in Saints' fightback
Edinburgh 27 Northampton 31
Monday 18 October 2010
Northampton have reached the conclusion that convention flies out the window when it comes to Heineken Cup rugby after squeezing out victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
The mantra of many coaches has been "performance, performance, performance" but Jim Mallinder's team now know it is results that matter most in Europe.
After struggling to use the ball with either hands or boot against Castres, those issues were resolved at Murrayfield only for their defence to go missing against Edinburgh. Yet Saints claimed a second win, again by a four-point margin, to move top of Pool One, three points clear of closest rivals Cardiff, who they meet next, home and away, in December.
Captain Dylan Hartley said: "The first-half performance was pretty shoddy but we will take a win away from home. That's what is most important. Away wins are pretty hard to come by in the Heineken Cup but we worked hard for it."
They were made to work hard by an Edinburgh team that had the courage of their convictions in the first half, recovering from Hartley's seventh-minute bulldozer of a try to score three breath-taking tries of their own. Allan Jacobsen, Netani Talei and Ben Cairns all finishing with aplomb as Edinburgh raced into a 24-13 lead after just half-an-hour with a spring in their step.
It took a timely try by James Downey on the stroke of half-time and some choice words in the Saints dressing room immediately after to stem the growing Scottish tide and squeeze out the win. Hartley said: "The first half was not what we are about. We gave Edinburgh far too many easy yards and allowed them to get some easy scores. They proved what an attacking threat they can be and played some good rugby, especially their off-load game from turnovers.
"So we knew we had to solve the problem by cutting out those errors and putting in some tackles. In the end that worked. We dug in, turned things around and produced a second half that we can be proud of.
"Now we have some big games in the Premiership to come before facing Cardiff next," he added,
This game was a fascinating contrast in styles and for all of Edinburgh's free-flowing rugby, Northampton turned the screw up front. The scrums, in particular, were barely a contest.
Star of the first half was Edinburgh's 22-year-old lock Fraser McKenzie, who even managed to outshine Courtney Lawes with his support play. By the end of the game, there was barely a blade of grass on the Murrayfield turf that McKenzie had not covered. The flanker was involved in all three tries, combining with the half-back brothers Dave and Mike Blair, to wonderful effect.
However, the Saints' advantage in the scrums was key, providing the platform for Downey's score and leading directly to Talei's blunder just yards off his own line that ended with Paul Diggin touching down in the corner. Stephen Myler added the conversion and penalty to finish with 16 points and draw a line under the Saints' kicking curse.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: "Steve has been on the bench in recent weeks gagging for his chance and he really took it. He had a fantastic game, he put the ball in the right areas, defended well and kicked his goals." Defeat was harsh on Edinburgh who deserved more than a losing bonus point for their three tries but their Heineken Cup campaign now appears doomed.
Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries A Jacobsen, N Talei, B Cairns; Conversions C Paterson 3; Penalties C Paterson 2. Northampton: Tries: D Hartley, J Downey, P Diggin; Conversions S Myler 2; Penalties S Myler 4.
Edinburgh: C Paterson; J Thompson, B Cairns, J King, T Visser; D Blair, M Blair; A Jacobsen (K Traynor, 65), R Ford (A Kelly, 65), G Cross (D Young, 61), S MacLeod (C Hamilton, 61), F McKenzie, A MacDonald, N Talei, R Grant (capt).
Northampton: G Tonks, C Ashton, J Clarke (J Ansbro 72), J Downey, P Diggin, S Myler, L Dickson (R Powell, 62), S Tongauiha, D Hartley (capt), B Mujati (E Murray, 55), C Lawes, C Day (M Sorenson, 72), P Dowson, R Wilson, T Wood (C Clarke, 70).
Referee: J Garces (France)
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Real Madrid striker fuels speculation he will join Gunners with cryptic Instagram post
Memphis Depay scores amazing overhead kick from Wayne Rooney cross during Manchester United pre-season training
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Spanish club resume £28m pursuit after fending Manchester United off Sergio Ramos
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to leave Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa
Manchester United forward Memphis Depay is not the strongest player in the squad as Luke Shaw and Ashely Young hail Tyler Blackett
- 1 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 2 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband