Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd was relieved to see his Saints ‘poke themselves in front’ in the final two minutes to record a 35-31 win over Wasps in a dramatic game at the Ricoh Arena.
Playing some impressive rugby, Northampton built up a 28-10 lead and looked in total control but Wasps scored two tries in quick succession to roar back into contention in this Gallagher Premiership contest.
Then Saints’ wing’ Tom Collins, contested an aerial challenge with Wasps’ fly-half, Jacob Umaga, which resulted in a sickening collision for both players to receive lengthy medical treatment. Both managed to get up, Umaga was helped off in a groggy condition before Collins was red carded.
Worse was to follow for Northampton when scrum-half, Cobus Reinach was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on to take his side down to 13 but remarkably Saints regrouped to score a winning try from Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Boyd said: “To cough up an 18-point lead was very poor as we stopped trying to play and we were just defending.
“I have no complaints about Tom’s (Collins) sending off but he was unlucky as I believe he was about to jump and get in the air but mistimed it and the contact came from their player.
“I appreciate safety is paramount but it was tough on Tom to get up and then collect a red card.
“The yellow card for Cobus (Reinach) was also justified but I would question the consistency of the referee as minutes later their flanker did exactly the same thing and there was no punishment at all.
“At the end, we showed great resilience to poke ourselves and get in front but we shouldn’t have been in that position as we were pretty grumpy at half-time at not being further ahead.”
Saints looked in total control after 55 minutes, having scored four tries through Cobus Reinach (2), Teimana Harrison and Tom Wood. Dan Biggar converted all four and was also successful with the conversion of Naiyaravoro’s match-winner.
Marcus Watson, Jimmy Gopperth and Matteo Minozzi scored Wasps’ tries, with Umaga adding a penalty and three conversions. There was also a penalty try award.
Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young said: “Another loss at home really hurts but you have to give Saints’ credit for the way they played the last five minutes.
“We gave three or four penalties away and couldn’t get the ball and when they got close to the line, they’ve got some big ball carriers to force their way over.
“We were playing against a quality team, they are top and we are near the bottom.
“We could have folded when we went 18 points down so I’m very pleased with the boys’ attitude.”
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