Saints snap losing run

Sat, 24 Nov 2012 20:51
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Northampton Saints returned to winning ways in the Premiership with a 23-16 victory over London Welsh at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

Northampton Saints returned to winning ways in the Premiership with a 23-16 victory over London Welsh at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

In the other Saturday showdown, in-form flyhalf Freddie Burns scored 19 points to help Gloucester to a comfortable 29-3 win over Sale Sharks at Kingsholm.

Northampton Saints 23-16 London Welsh

Northampton Saints overcame a slow start to battle past London Welsh 23-16 and end a run of three straight Premiership defeats.

A penalty try and a further score from Ken Pisi allowed Saints to overcome a defiant Welsh team, who had taken an early lead through a penalty try of their own.

In the end, Welsh had to rely on a late penalty from flyhalf Gordon Ross to secure a losing bonus point as they maintained their battle for survival.

The visitors got the perfect start to the game when they set up a huge maul and marched Saints back from their own 22 all the way under the posts.

With a try looking inevitable, South African No.8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze pulled the maul down illegally, leaving referee David Rose with little choice but to give a penalty try and a yellow card. Ross slotted the simple conversion to make it 7-0.

Despite being a man down, Saints hit back quickly through a Ryan Lamb drop goal but Ross responded with a penalty.

However, with the return of Van Velze Saints began to gain the ascendancy and got their revenge on the Exiles with a powerful rolling maul of their own which was pulled down by Welsh - Franck Montanella receiving a yellow card as a result.

With a man down it was always going to be difficult for Welsh to resist and, after three penalties conceded at a five-metre scrum they conceded a penalty try. Lamb's conversion made it 10-10.

It got worse for the visitors when Dan Caprice misjudged a high ball and took out Jamie Elliott, becoming the third player to be sent to the sin bin.

Northampton took full advantage thanks to a moment of inspiration from Lamb. After an initial break from Dom Waldouck, the ball was recycled and the flyhalf produced a beautiful kick for Pisi to go over in the corner. Lamb converted to make it 17-10 at the break.

Northampton made the better start to the second half, with an early Lamb penalty extending their lead to ten points.

They looked to have made the decisive break but Welsh hit back thanks to another three points from Ross.

That came after fullback Tom Arscott had missed a penalty from inside his own half for the Exiles, and he did the same again just before the hour.

Lamb stretched the lead once more with another penalty as Northampton led 23-13 with just15 minutes remaining.

The Exiles needed a score to at least claim a losing bonus point and with seven minutes remaining, Ross just managed to knock over his third penalty of the afternoon.

And although Saints continued to press, they could not find another score as they comfortably played out the game.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Penalty try, Pisi
Cons: Lamb 2
Pens: Lamb 2
DG: Lamb
Yellow card: Van Velze

For London Welsh:
Penalty try
Cons: Ross
Pens: Ross 3
Yellow cards: Montanella; Caprice


Northampton Saints: 15 Tom May, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark (captain) 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Alex Day, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Vasily Artmeyev.

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Dan Caprice, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Ed Jackson, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Jamie Stephenson, 22 Alex Davies, 23 Seb Jewell.

Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Nigel Carrick

Gloucester 29-3 Sale Sharks

Freddie Burns continued his outstanding form from the kicking tee as Gloucester comfortably disposed of basement boys Sale Sharks with a 29-3 win at Kingsholm.

Burns, who this week was named Premiership Player of the Month for October, kicked 19 points for the home side, who climbed to third in the table while Sale stay rooted to the bottom.

Akapusi Qera's effort and a penalty try were Nigel Davies' troops two scores in the second half but the damage was done in the first period when Sale's ill discipline saw Burns kick five penalties to Danny Cipriani's one for a 15-3 lead.

The Sharks now only have one win from their first nine games in the league and are yet to win away from home while the Cherry and Whites have only lost twice all season.

The first scrum of the match saw the Gloucester front row lay down a marker for things to come as the Sharks were forced to concede a penalty.

And from the subsequent attack the visitors went off their feet at the breakdown and Burns, the top scorer in the Premiership, slotted over to put the Cherry and Whites in front with five minutes played.

The home side were very much in the ascendancy in the opening stages and when an aimless Cipriani clearance was returned with interest by Rob Cook, the Sharks again infringed at the breakdown and Burns made no mistake to double Gloucester's lead.

In the 14th minute the Sharks finally started to threaten, Sam Tuitupou busting through a hole in midfield and opting to kick for the corner when a pass would have put Will Addison in the clear.

And when Sale knocked on from the subsequent line-out the chance was gone, Burns clearing his lines to relieve the pressure.

Despite the Sale improvement their scrum was still letting them down, Ross Harrison in particular struggling and Burns made it 9-0 in the 20th minute when the 20-year-old prop was again penalised.

The Gloucester flyhalf was in magnificent form and his fourth penalty of the first half from near the half-way line never looked like missing.

And yet more poor discipline from the Sharks was punished approaching the half-hour mark when Mark Cueto did not release the tackler and Burns made it 15-0.

The visitors were desperate to get on the scoreboard with the interval approaching and they enjoyed their best period of the match before a 37th minute Cipriani penalty made it 15-3.

The opening skirmishes of the second half were somewhat scrappy but in the 50th minute Tuitupou came closest to the first try of the game, bursting clear after a clever Cipriani loop but the former All Black was brought down inches short of the line.

Huia Edmonds was injured making that superb tackle and after a lengthy break was taken off on a stretcher to be replaced by Koree Britton.

Despite the wide margin in the scoreline, Gloucester were struggling for any real fluency in the second period but they finally killed off any hopes with a try just after the hour mark.

Jimmy Cowan's perfectly timed flat pass put Qera through from short range and the flank dived over for the score, converted by Burns to make it 22-3.

As the game entered the final stages, Nigel Davies' troops were all over the Sharks and their dominance in the pack told in the end with a penalty try after a spell of concerted pressure on the Sharks' try-line.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Qera, Penalty
Cons: Burns 2
Pens: Burns 5

For Sale Sharks:


15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Jim Hamilton (captain), 4 Will James, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Molenaar, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Will Addison, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Cameron Shepherd.

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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