Voyce hat-trick leaves Northampton in pieces

Wasps 39 Northampton 9

Northampton met the second best side in the country at the Causeway Stadium yesterday and took a beating best described as merciless, so they must be feeling really good about this weekend's outing against Leicester, who are so superior to their Premiership peers that the outcome of the regular season was set in reinforced concrete more than a month ago. Three points adrift at the foot of the table and contemplating a run-in difficult enough to make a parson swear, the Saints' prospects are grim indeed. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are a rabble.

Northampton met the second best side in the country at the Causeway Stadium yesterday and took a beating best described as merciless, so they must be feeling really good about this weekend's outing against Leicester, who are so superior to their Premiership peers that the outcome of the regular season was set in reinforced concrete more than a month ago. Three points adrift at the foot of the table and contemplating a run-in difficult enough to make a parson swear, the Saints' prospects are grim indeed. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are a rabble.

Apart from the usual committed effort from Matt Lord, who achieved more sitting in the sin-bin than the majority of his colleagues did on the pitch, the visitors had nothing going for them. Their most potent player, Bruce Reihana, made unforced errors by the gross; Andrew Blowers and Corne Krige, their international loose forwards from south of the equator, looked shot to pieces; their preferred half-backs, Johnny Howard and Shane Drahm, were substituted well before the interval. One way or another, Northampton were not a pretty sight.

Budge Pountney, confirmed as head coach earlier this month after a brief spell of caretakership, looked wearier during the after-match formalities than he ever did as an all-action flanker. "There was a honeymoon period, as there often is after a change of coach, but unfortunately, the games we won were all cup games," he said.

"It would have been a whole lot better had we strung together two or three victories in the Premiership, but it didn't work out that way. It won't get any easier for us now, and we'll have to dig much deeper than we did out there to take something from the fixtures coming up. I'm afraid we don't have much confidence."

Northampton do not have much of anything these days, despite their success in turning a profit. Wasps put three tries past them in 29 minutes, and did not have to do too much for any of them. The first, inevitably enough, was claimed by Matt Dawson, who left the Midlanders for the champions last summer.

"That was always in the script," groaned Pountney, having watched the scrum-half wrestle his way over from a couple of metres after Lawrence Dallaglio's tap-and-go penalty routine. Mark van Gisbergen put Tom Voyce in down the left after some decent line-out work from Martin Purdy, and Voyce scored again when Phil Greening intercepted a loose pass and made 40 metres of quality ground before delivering the scoring pass.

Cue the first substitutions. "In that situation, you have to change something," Pountney said, explaining his unusually early introduction of Billy Fulton, his new scrum-half recruit from All Black country, and Paul Grayson, who is not a new anything, having served time at the club for more than a decade.

Grayson managed a penalty before the interval and another at the start of the second half, but Northampton were still behind 22-9. When the slippery Van Gisbergen accepted a pass from Dallaglio to complete a long Wasps attack in the right corner on 52 minutes, the contest was over half an hour early.

Wasps, out of sorts since mid-January, may yet make a reasonable fist of defending their title, for there were fresh shoots of the old dynamism about them here. Tim Payne and Craig Dowd, fairly marmalised in the scrummage by Bath last month, swapped propping roles to good effect, while Greening contributed some inspirational touches in the loose. Johnny O'Connor looked handy too - certainly, the Ireland breakaway was too hot for the ailing Krige - and while he failed to go the distance, the Wasps management saw no reason why his ankle problem should not clear up in time for the Six Nations match with England in Dublin on Sunday.

"It will do Jonny good to miss some training, because he came back to us in pieces from his last stint with Ireland," said Warren Gatland, the Wasps coach. One player in bits is just about manageable. A team in bits, like Northampton, is a different story altogether.

Wasps: Tries Voyce 3, Van Gisbergen 2, Dawson. Conversions Van Gisbergen 3. Penalty Van Gisbergen. Northampton: Penalties Grayson 2, Drahm.

Wasps: M van Gisbergen; P Sackey, J Lewsey (R Hoadley, 61), A Erinle, T Voyce; A King (J Brooks, 54), M Dawson (P Richards 61); T Payne (C Dowd, 70), P Greening, C Dowd (W Green, 62), S Shaw (G Skivington, 61), M Purdy, J Worsley, L Dallaglio (capt), J O'Connor (T Rees, 54).

Northampton: B Reihana; P Diggin (J Rudd, 52), N Starling, M Stcherbina, B Cohen; S Drahm (P Grayson, 34), J Howard (B Fulton, 30); T Smith, S Thompson (capt), S Emms, M Lord, D Browne, D Fox, A Blowers, C Krige (R Beattie, 57; G Seely, 68).

Referee: D Rose (West Midlands).

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?