Wednesday 7 December 2016

Saints hold their nerve

Northampton 15 Scarlets 11

Published 15/11/2015 | 02:30

Northampton Saints' Luther Burrell (centre) is tackled by Scarlets' Gareth Davies (left) and Michael Tagicakibau (No.14) during the match
Northampton Saints' Luther Burrell (centre) is tackled by Scarlets' Gareth Davies (left) and Michael Tagicakibau (No.14) during the match
Northampton Saints' Ben Foden (centre) offloads the ball as team-mate George North (background) stamps on Scarlets' Michael Tagicakibau, resulting in a disallowed try and a yellow card
Northampton Saints' Ken Pisi scores their first try during the European Champions Cup, pool three match against the Scarlets

Northampton overcame Scarlets in their opening Champions Cup pool match thanks to a second-half try from Alex Waller. The crucial score came just five minutes after Gareth Davies had given Scarlets a surprise lead and Saints were able to hold on for a vital win.

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Although it looked close on the scoreboard Northampton were comfortable victors and could have won by more were it not for an outstanding performance from the Scarlets' defence.

Having endured a tough start to the season in the Premiership, Northampton meant business with an early try from Ken Pisi, but led just 7-6 at the break, George North having been sin-binned for a stamp which cost them one try.

Davies went over early in the second half, but Waller responded from a maul, before for Munster player JJ Hanrahan gave his team some breathing space with a late penalty.

Northampton flew out of the blocks and scored the game's opening try after just six minutes. In control at scrum-time and making ground with ball in hand, they went in front when Hanrahan beat two men before finding his Samoan winger, Pisi, who had the pace to race over. The Irish fly-half converted to make it 7-0.

Scarlets struggled for possession, but did at least get on the board after 14 minutes when they finally got some ball and Jamie Gibson was penalised for slowing the ball after DTH van der Merwe and then Aaron Shingler had been stopped just short. Steven Shingler, who had a poor night with the boot, slotted from in front.

Sunday Indo Sport

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