Saints defence got them home

Sun, 22 Dec 2013 09:33
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Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder sang the praises of his defence after they battled to out a tight 17-15 victory over London Wasps.

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder sang the praises of his defence after they battled to out a tight 17-15 victory over London Wasps.

Mallinder's men had to rely on a late penalty from Stephen Myler to claim their ninth consecutive win over Wasps with the last kick of the game, but still managed to keep the home side from crossing the whitewash.

Wasps had come into the game in good form with three wins on the spin but ultimately couldn't deal with the power of the Saints pack, who drove Christian Day over for the only try of the game in the first half.

And they could have had a second try, with Luther Burrell's first half touch down ruled out for a tug by Day on Elliot Daly by the TMO.

"Defensively we were very strong. I was really pleased with our defence. We kept to our system pretty well," said Mallinder after the match.

"We did give away a couple of penalties, probably just by being over-competitive at the breakdown, but generally we were good, well-organised.

"What Wasps did was put us under a lot of pressure throughout the game and we didn't get out of our half as accurately as we have in previous games. A lot of that is due to their pressure.

"Then, there were a couple of close decisions and we got into that second half and thankfully the referee made his first decision on a scrum after 79 minutes, and it went our way."

With 15 minutes to go it was 14-12 to the visitors but Carlisle looked to have won it with his penalty after Lee Dickson was penalised for an unsafe tackle on Joe Launchbury with just minutes left.

But Myler stepped up to send Saints home with the points after Wasps were penalised at the scrum by referee Matthew Carley.

"We had not beaten them for four seasons so with 30 seconds to go we thought we had done enough," said disappointed Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

"We feel hugely disappointed because that was a game we had worked really hard to win. You don't get that opportunity against Northampton too often so I'm really proud of the players and I'm gutted for them because we had done enough to win that game.

"They are an excellent team and well coached. We knew it was going to be a massive challenge for us but we stuck with it."

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Team P W D L Pts
Northampton Saints 22 16 1 5 76
Bath 22 16 0 6 75
Leicester Tigers 22 15 1 6 68
Saracens 22 14 1 7 68
Exeter Chiefs 22 14 0 8 68
Wasps 22 11 2 9 61
Sale Sharks 22 11 0 11 54
Harlequins 22 10 0 12 49
Gloucester 22 9 1 12 48
London Irish 22 7 1 14 40
Newcastle Falcons 22 5 1 16 34
London Welsh 22 0 0 22 1