Taqele Naiyaravoro snatched victory for 13-man Northampton with two minutes remaining as they battled to a 35-31 win at Wasps to remain one point behind Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter.


After 55 minutes, Saints looked in total control having scored four tries to lead 28-10. Cobus Reinach had scored two, while Teimana Harrison and Tom Wood also crossed as Dan Biggar converted all four attempts.

Marcus Watson, Jimmy Gopperth and Matteo Minozzi all crossed for Wasps in addition to Jacob Umaga’s nine points with the boot to haul the home side back into contention to trail 28-24.

Saints were reduced to 14 players when Tom Collins was sent off in the 65th minute for an aerial challenge with Umaga, with Reinach sin-binned five minutes later for a deliberate knock-on and a penalty try for Wasps to take the lead.

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However, Naiyaravoro powered over in the 78th minute to claim 13-man Northampton’s sixth win of the league season, with Biggar adding his fifth kick of the day.

Wasps suffered a big pre-match blow when captain Joe Launchbury withdrew through illness.


Rory Hutchinson sparked the game into life in the 17th minute when he sent Biggar through a gap and the fly-half ran 25 metres before providing Reinach with an easy run-in try.

Biggar converted before Wasps immediately missed a good opportunity to draw level when the visitors threw long at a line-out in their own 22.

Thomas Young gathered and rushed forward but the home flanker lost possession as he drove for the try-line.


However, the hosts maintained the pressure and were rewarded when Umaga kicked a simple penalty to put them on the scoreboard.

Wasps followed this up by taking the lead against the run of the play. Centre Malakai Fekitoa ripped the ball from Piers Francis before sending Watson away on a 45-metre sprint to the line.

Saints were soon back in front when Alex Waller powered away to put the Wasps’ defence on the back foot.

The prop was hauled down but the ball was recycled for Harrison to stroll over after Ahsee Tuala had picked the number eight out with a long pass.

Saints led 14-10 at the interval and within a minute of the restart, they extended their advantage when Wood charged down Dan Robson’s clearance to pick up and score.

Northampton looked to have sealed the win 10 minutes later when Reinach finished off a period of sustained pressure to score his second and pick up his side’s bonus point.

However, spirited Wasps soon replied with converted tries from Gopperth and Minozzi in quick succession to bring them right back into the match.

Saints were now firmly under the cosh after Collins’ dismissal was shortly followed by Reinach’s sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, which resulted in a penalty try award to put Wasps ahead.

But Saints conjured up one last effort and Naiyaravoro powered over to have the last say in a dramatic game.

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