Northampton as good as secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, but, based on this showing, that is as far as they are likely to go,.
"At least there were more points than injuries," said Paul Grayson, the Saints' head coach, who was without 14 backs. "This game was about getting five points, but you wouldn't pay to see it again. It was completely dysfunctional."
Grayson is not permitted to criticise the referee, David Changleng, for his poor performance, but the former England fly-half did say: "The referee's interpretation meant that it was a stop-start game. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of set pieces. We generally produce quick ball, but the breakdown was chaos. Producing quick ball was impossible."
A week earlier, Saints ran in 10 tries against the same hapless opponents, whose poor showing underlined the plight of the club game in Italy. "Ten tries away from home is difficult to follow up in back-to-back matches, but we still scored six today," Grayson said.
Saints entertain Wasps in a Guinness Premiership match on Friday evening and, given Northampton's parlous position in that competition, as they lie bottom but one, this will be far more tricky. "We now have to focus on what is happening on Friday night," said Grayson. "Wasps present an entirely different challenge."
Northampton's set piece should be no problem, but elsewhere there was a distinct lack of focus, notably at the rucks. The Italians, no match for the Saints scrum, were slow to pounce on Northampton's errors. Wasps will not be so generous.
Grayson said Saints are to appoint a recruitment director to replace Budge Pountney, their recently departed director of rugby. The rumour mills were churning in the East Midlands that the former England forward and Franklin's Gardens legend Tim Rodber might be tempted back.
But Rodber is now a senior executive with Williams Lea Corporate Information Solutions, based in New York. Grayson said: "I would welcome it if Tim were appointed. He is a good friend and godfather to my son. It would be nice to see him again." He clearly is not expecting Rodber to reappear, though: "Tim is COO of Williams Lea. But if he wants to come over here and work for us for £30,000 trying to find players, well..."
By the time of the appointment Saints will hope to have moved nearer to Premiership safety, progressed in Europe and remained injury-free.
Northampton: Tries Kydd, Penalty, Diggin, Wyles, Tonga'uiha, Lamont; Conversions Spencer 3.
Northampton: P Diggin; S Lamont, C Spencer (J Howard, 71), R Kydd, C Wyles; I Vass, M Robinson; S Tonga'uiha, S Thompson (D Hartley, 66), P Barnard (C Budgen, 66), M Lord (capt), C Short, P Tupai (B Lewitt, 71), S Harding (D Fox, 52), Daniel Browne (M Easter, 52).
Overmach Parma: R Robuschi; G Ghidini (N Mazzucato, 53), E Galon, M Sego, R Pavan; A Canale, J Pellicena (capt; M Frati, 71); G Fontana (A De Marchi, 63-76), B Masetti (L Zanini, 80), F Staibano (T Paoletti, 49), L Tait, F Minello (J Soffredini, 64), R Barbieri, L Pascu, M Vosawai (A De Marchi, 33-40).
Referee: D Changleng (Scotland).Reuse content