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'Humbling experience' - Saints boss reacts to cricket score loss at Ashton Gate

By PA
Bristol Bears v Northampton Saints – Gallagher Premiership – Ashton Gate

Northampton boss Phil Dowson described Saints’ record 62-8 Gallagher Premiership defeat against Bristol as “a humbling experience” after they capitulated at Ashton Gate.

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The play-off contenders conceded nine tries as Bristol posted a third successive league win.

“It was a humbling experience,” Northampton rugby director Dowson said. “That is not acceptable, and we need to make sure we rectify it very quickly.

“Fraser (Northampton captain Fraser Dingwall) felt that when they (Bristol) got scores ahead, our heads were down. That is not something that we have encountered a lot.

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“Nobody wants to be associated with that. That is not a record that any of those players want to have their fingerprints on.

“They are going to have to deal with that, I am going to have to deal with that as director of rugby. We simply have to be better than that.

“We didn’t turn up, clearly, at times. We started well, dropped off, went behind and we stopped.

“We’ve seen throughout the season our capability, and also chinks in the armour, and they were exposed brutally today.

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“Tonight was a big game, and we blew it. They are proud lads, and that wasn’t a representation of what I think we are about as a club, and therefore we need to rectify that.”

Scrum-half Harry Randall scored two tries, while hooker Harry Thacker and substitute wing Ioan Lloyd also touched down as Bristol secured a bonus-point before half-time.

The second period was a similar tale of dominance as further tries followed for Lloyd, lock Chris Vui, prop George Kloska, flanker Fitz Harding and replacement Jake Heenan to leave Saints in disarray.

Fly-half AJ MacGinty kicked four conversions and a penalty, with centre James Williams adding three conversions. All Northampton could muster was a George Hendy try and Fin Smith penalty.

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Northampton were without a number of players due to injuries and England training commitments, but their capitulation was startling on a night that saw them out-played in every key department.

But Bristol, despite suffering a run of eight league games without a win earlier this term, now find themselves chasing a play-off spot after posting a club record Premiership victory.

A five-game run-in begins at home to Harlequins next weekend and, with confidence levels soaring, a concerted semi-final push looks likely.

Bristol rugby director Pat Lam said: “I am very proud of the boys. It is satisfying because of the work we have been doing.

“We knew we had to be on our game, and the two things I am probably most proud of is our defence and how the players fought right through until the end.

“It was a very good performance, and now we have got to go again.

“We still have a chance (of the top-four). We have put our heads down and focused on what we can control. Every game for us is a final.”

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stevie 473 days ago

Saints were short but Bristol were without their two most influential forwards in both loose and tight, Genge and Sinckler. Bristols movement of the ball and defence was superb. Piatau was fabulous but equally Harry Randall back to his best.

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