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'Let's return to reality - Ireland must exercise caution'

Irish expectation soars as Andy Farrell's team sweeps all in its path, but cool heads are needed if they are to heed mistakes of the past

Dan Biggar kicks Northampton to their third win in as many games

(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Dan Biggar kicked Northampton to their third win from as many Gallagher Premiership games this season as they edged to a 23-21 victory against London Irish. Making his first appearance since playing for the British and Irish Lions during the summer, Biggar landed a penalty with six minutes to go and the Saints held on. It was nervy for the home side at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens as Irish roared back from 17-0 down to lead 21-20, but Biggar and his side held their nerve to claim the four points.


The Saints had started the game with a good tempo and they took the lead when the returning Biggar landed a penalty awarded for a high tackle. They then grabbed their first try, with Tom Collins finishing off a tidy move out wide. Biggar’s conversion made it 10-0 and he was soon adding the extras to another fine Saints score.

Juarno Augustus made a big carry and George Furbank brought the style, placing a perfectly weighted kick through for Matt Proctor to score. The Saints were flying but they started to become bogged down in their own half, allowing Irish to build a long period of pressure, which resulted in a try for Agustin Creevy.

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Ollie Phillips guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload
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Paddy Jackson converted to leave the gap at ten points at half-time and Irish were on the front foot early in the second period, forcing Api Ratuniyarawa into the sin-bin. The Saints could not get out of their own 22 and Irish eventually added another seven points to their tally, earning a penalty try and pushing Paul Hill to join Ratuniyarawa in the bin.

The Saints had become sinners and they were now down to 13 men, struggling to hold on to what was now a three-point lead. Northampton did manage to limit the damage as they returned to 15 men with 23 minutes of the match remaining.

Biggar landed a long-range penalty but it was momentary scoreboard respite as Irish took the lead thanks to Tom Parton, who scored after some good work from Ollie Hassell-Collins. Jackson converted to make it 21-20 and Northampton had 15 minutes to find a response. Albert Tuisue gave the hosts a helping hand as he put his head into the face of Alex Waller and conceded a penalty, which Biggar landed to give the Saints the lead.


Irish mounted one final surge with the clock in the red and when the referee went to the TMO, it looked like Northampton may be punished. However, Tom Foley got the call right and the Saints celebrated a hard-earned win.


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