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'It was probably our worst effort of the year' - Boyd slams his Northampton Saints side

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Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd was not a happy man despite Dan Biggar snatching a 35-32 victory from the jaws of defeat for his team against Benetton Rugby.


In a thrilling Heineken Champions Cup clash, Saints rallied from 25-8 down and fly-half Biggar won the game in the 85th minute with a nerveless last-gasp penalty.

Northampton’s bonus-point success made it two wins from two at the start of their European campaign, but Boyd still slammed the performance.

“We have to be way better and if we play like that again, we’ll get a pasting,” he said. “I don’t think either side can say they played well enough to walk away with five points.

“It was a game we did well to come back in. The try before half time was crucial as 25-8 might have been a bridge too far.

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“We were so far off our game despite the fact we talked about how difficult it would be here. We were miles off and it was probably our worst effort of the year.


“We were loose and sloppy and all the things we talked about not being. We’ve had some good performances this season, but today we were sloppy.

“To be 25-15 down at half time was much better with the try in the bag and it meant we only had to score twice to level and we had 40 minutes so there was no rush.

“At the end of the day I guess the positive is we found a way to win even though we were far from our best.”


Northampton saw match winner Biggar yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in the first half as Benetton played some committed rugby.

The Italians scored through Epalahame Faiva and Iliesa Ratuva and Tommaso Allan kicked two conversions and two penalties.

Saints were up against it, but Cobus Reinach grabbed the effort Boyd referred to as crucial just before the break after Tom Collins had been sent to the line by an outrageous Biggar pass.

In the second half Saints rallied to turn the tables and lead 32-25 thanks to Ollie Sleightholme, Collins’ second, and the boot of Biggar after Braam Steyn had seen yellow.

It looked like it would be enough for victory, but Benetton hooker Faiva grabbed his second to tie the scores before the late drama.

Jamie Gibson won a crucial turnover for Saints and, when Ratuva was judged to have deliberately knocked on Collins’ pass, it gave Biggar a chance and the Wales star sent his kick between the posts.

“Dan doesn’t miss very often in those crunch situations,” Boyd said. “We knew once Jamie had won the turnover that if we could get some field position, then three points would be enough to win.

“If we’d come here and lost, those points might have made a big difference. You can’t afford to leave your destiny in the hands of others. “


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