Northampton crashed out of the EDF Energy Cup last night at only the second hurdle after a 26-7 defeat by Newport-Gwent Dragons in Pool D at Rodney Parade.
Leicester's win over Worcester earlier in the day meant Saints or Dragons needed a maximum to prevent Tigers from qualifying for the semi-finals at the Millennium Stadium next March with the final round of pool fixtures over the first weekend of December still to be played.
Dragons' tries came from Gareth Wyatt and Richard Fussell while Ceri Sweeney kicked 13 points and centre Nathan Brew dropped a late goal. With a recent bollocking from owner Keith Barwell ringing in their ears, all Northampton could muster was a Mark Robinson try, converted by Robbie Kydd. Worse still, former All Blacks' fly-half Carlos Spencer was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle after eight minutes, and left the pitch permanently before half-time with a groin injury.
Saracens could also make an early exit if they lose to Cardiff Blues at Vicarage Road today. The former South Africa scrum-half Neil de Kock makes his debut while locks Iain Fullarton and Simon Raiwalui come in, but Andy Farrell is again on bench duty. Gary Powell and Marc Stcherbina return at prop and centre respectively for Blues.
England World Cup winners Lawrence Dallaglio and Phil Vickery play their first games of the season for Wasps in this afternoon's other Pool B match, against London Irish at Adams Park. Dallaglio starts at No 8 having had a plate removed from his ankle and Vickery, a recent signing from Gloucester, packs down in the front row alongside Tim Payne and Jonny Barrett following a back operation.
The England wing Tom Varndell, on loan from Leicester, ran in one of second-placed Bedford's seven tries in a 42-13 win at Waterloo in National League One. Earth Titans still top the table after a 31-6 success away to Pertemps Bees.Reuse content