Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam was confident “a purple patch would come” following a poor first-half performance as his side turned round a 14-0 deficit to beat Northampton 20-14 at Franklin’s Gardens.

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The win moved Bristol up to fourth in the Gallagher Premiership table whereas second-placed Saints missed the chance to put pressure on leaders Exeter as they crashed to a second-successive home defeat.

Bristol’s tries came from replacements Henry Purdy and Lewis Thiede, with Callum Sheedy converting both and kicking a penalty, while Ian Madigan also added a penalty.

Harry Mallinder crossed over for Northampton with James Grayson on target with three penalties.

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Lam said: “We couldn’t carry on playing like we did in the first half as we turned over so much possession and you can’t play rugby like that if you want to set any form of standard.

“We conceded 18 turnovers in the first half so we had to flush that effort down the toilet.

“We said at half-time that we needed to be patient as our purple patch would come but even after that, we started kicking the ball away again, which made for a nervous finish.

Pat Lam

PA

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“Our impact players made a big difference and we showed what we can do as we’ve come away from the top two sides in the Premiership, Exeter and Northampton with wins.”

One of the talking points of the game was Rory Hutchinson’s high tackle on Joe Joyce as Bristol’s replacement lock looked set to score. Hutchinson was shown the yellow card – but a red card and a penalty try award were called into question.

Lam added: “I trust the referees but Joe had a lot of momentum behind him and he would have taken some stopping although there were other defenders about. I’ve seen red cards for that type of offence.

Pat Lam

PA

“However I was more concerned about what happened next as we didn’t play with sufficient tempo when they went down to 14 men.”

Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd was disappointed that his side had thrown away a great lead.

He said: “It doesn’t make me happy as a couple of missed tackles cost us and we couldn’t find a way back into it.

“We are still sitting in second place in the table but the advantage we had prior to the Six Nations has now disappeared.

“The combination of internationals going away and injuries are putting a real strain on our roster and now we’ve lost Alex Moon with a significant leg injury so we are now down to the bare bones in respect of locks. We will have to go out and find another one.”

PA

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