Saints set sights on treble chance
Northampton 14 Wasps 9
Monday 29 March 2010
A lady in the main stand summed it up: "That was a bit too close for my liking." The sentiment was understandable, but she ought to have been in raptures. Northampton's ability to carve victory from a match they might easily have lost has served them well against the likes of Bath, London Irish and Munster this season – and now Wasps. It is the hallmark of a good team.
Having captured the LV Anglo-Welsh Cup the week before – the first domestic trophy of note in the club's history – Northampton were not at full pelt but some of that was down to Wasps' eye-popping rush defence. Both clubs fancy themselves to do well in the Premiership play-offs; second-placed Northampton also have a Heineken Cup quarter-final away to Munster on Saturday week.
"There is a sense that if I can get through that I can get through anything," said Tom Rees, the Wasps captain after playing a full match on his return from 11 months out and two shoulder operations. The 25-year-old open-side flanker has filled in time growing his hair and thrashing an electric guitar, though with no apparent diminishment to his close-quarter skills. His place on England's summer tour to Australia and New Zealand is assured. Wasps' scrum-half, Joe Simpson, did the full 80-minute stint after a three-month lay-off.
With greater sharpness finishing tries off, Wasps would have prevented Northampton extending their run of home wins to 21. Instead the only try went to Saints' Roger Wilson just before half-time, and a dropped goal and penalty by Steve Myler in the last 11 minutes settled the outcome.
Paul Sackey, the Wasps wing, said: "We've been lacking our defensive style of late. With Tom Rees and a few of the other big guys coming back we have returned to our normal game. We've got it within us to have a big finish."
Saints are treating seriously reports that Soane Tonga'uiha has told Saracens he no longer wants to join them. The 19st prop has started 18 of Saints' last 19 fixtures, which have brought 17 wins and two defeats. "We'll have him if he wants to stay," said Northampton's director of rugby Jim Mallinder.
Scorers: Northampton Saints: Try Wilson; Penalties Reihana, Myler; Drop-goal Myler. London Wasps: Penalties Cipriani 2, Walder.
Northampton Saints: B Foden; C Ashton, J Clarke, J Downey, B Reihana; S Geraghty (S Myler, 64), L Dickson (A Dickens, 46-54); S Tonga'uiha, D Hartley (capt; A Long, 40), B Mujati (E Murray, 47), C Lawes, J Kruger, M Easter, N Best, R Wilson.
London Wasps: M van Gisbergen (B Jacobs, 40); P Sackey (D Lemi, 73), D Waldouck, S Kefu (D Walder, 58), T Varndell; D Cipriani, J Simpson; T Payne (B Broster, 64), R Webber, Z Taulafo, D Ward-Smith, G Skivington, J Worsley (S Betsen, 68), T Rees (capt), J Hart.
Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match preview
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures