Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd was unhappy with a number of issues after his side missed the chance to go top of the Gallagher premiership following a 20-16 defeat against London Irish.

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The Saints’ cause was not helped by the dismissal of second-rower Api Ratuniyarawa midway through the second half for a head high clear-out on London Irish prop Harry Elrington.

The Exiles played a limited game but deserved their victory as they outscored the hosts by three tries to one.

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Cobus Reinach scored Northampton’s try with James Grayson kicking three penalties and a conversion.

Ollie Hassell-Collins, Franco Van Der Merwe and Dave Porecki responded with tries for Irish with Stephen Myler adding a penalty and a conversion.

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Boyd said: “My barometer swung from frustration to anger. I’m going to take some splinters and sit on the fence and say no comment as I have a strong opinion on the red and yellow cards that were issued in the match.

“A combination of lack of discipline, lack of skill and some poor decision making resulted in us losing the game.”

Boyd was unable to pick his five England squad members for the game and chose to rest Wales international fly-half Dan Biggar ahead of next week’s Six Nations start.

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Boyd said: “Consistency is obviously an issue and losing six players takes depth from our selection.

“We are dealing with a different group of players but tonight they were required to do a job and needed to be smarter.

“We’ve gone 19 weeks without a break and were desperately keen to finish January on a good note. However it wasn’t to be and we need to regroup and flush that performance out.”

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney accepted that it was game with frequent swings in momentum.

He said: “I’ll always take a win especially when we achieve it with the last play of the game.

“We didn’t deserve to be down at half-time but we knew at the interval that if we played the same way, we would be capable of winning it.

“They came out strongly and even though there was the red card, we couldn’t get any possession or territory for quite a period of time but we rode the storm especially when they missed a couple of kickable penalties.

“However we didn’t give up and started playing again and our aim this season is just to do the best we can, every time we take the field.”

– Press Association

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