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Northampton player ratings vs Bath | 2023/24 Premiership final

By Liam Heagney
Courtney Lawes and Lewis Ludlam lift the Premiership title for Northampton (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton player ratings live from Twickenham: The Saints came marching into London looking to end their 10-year wait for a Gallagher Premiership title and give the legendary Courtney Lawes a celebratory send-off before his switch across the Channel next season.

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Come the final blow of referee Christophe Ridley’s whistle after an exhausting, riveting, edge-of-seat classic in front of 81,699 entertained spectators, it was Northampton who were celebrating as 25-21 come-from-behind winners thanks to a 73rd-minute converted try from Alex Mitchell.

They will feel mightily relieved. Despite being a man-up following the 22nd-minute red-carding of Beno Obano for shouldering the head of Juarno Augustus, they were unable to convincingly kick on and win this with something to spare.

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They did go 12 points up courtesy of tries from Tommy Freeman and Ollie Sleightholme within six minutes of Obano’s departure.

However, Bath then showed how excellent a team they are by gradually reeling in the Saints and passing them out, Finn Russell kicking them in front with a 67th-minute penalty on the back of tries from Thomas du Toit and Will Muir.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
25 - 21
Full-time
Bath
All Stats and Data

It seemed as if the man-down Bath were set to be crowned champions of England for the first time since 1996 only for replacement George Hendy, who had been at fault for the Muir score, to dance through from halfway and set up Mitchell.

The sub then went on to be responsible for the title-sealing rip of Bath’s possession with the clock deep in the red. Here are the Northampton player ratings:

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15. George Furbank – 8
Began with a classy first-minute try-saving tackle on Matt Gallagher to rescue the fumbling Sleightholme. Having been electric all year when joining the line at just the right time, he thundered onto the Lawes offload for the Freeman score and also gave Sleightholme the pass for his kick and chase try. Finished as his team’s kicker, converting the Mitchell try and making light of the loss of the injured Smith.

14. Tommy Freeman – 8
Has carried his added heft throughout 2023/24 with great enthusiasm and that power was seen in his super 13th-minute tackle on Muir. Gleefully scored 11 minutes later and went to tackle his heart out to ensure he was on the winning team, being involved with Hendy in the game-ending stoppage of a last-gasp Bath carry.

13. Burger Odendaal – 6
The ex-Wasps centre asked some bruising questions in the midfield traffic but his day ended in a heap on 44 minutes when double-teamed by Russell and Underhill and lost the ball near the try line.

12. Fraser Dingwall – 7
Back at the ground where he lapped up a career highlight try for England versus Wales four months ago, he showed best when attacking even though Cameron Redpath put in a fine Bath display.

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11. Ollie Sleightholme – 8
The league’s leading try-scorer started with a fumble but his skill was sport on when kicking beyond the Bath defence to race through and score. That made his day.

10. Fin Smith – 7
Rookie of the year, the recently turned 22-year-old is mentally made of steel. Look at his composed reaction to striking an upright with his first penalty kick; he joined a ruck a few minutes later and then casually kicked a drop goal when he rejoined the attack in the next phase. Shrugged off a second-half knock at 18-all but was gone on 70 after another disabling bang with his team behind.

9. Alex Mitchell – 8
Came in for an avalanche of attention. Ben Spencer was glued to him, and there was also an early driven-to-seat-of-the-pants tackle backwards from the excellent Sam Underhill. Stuck at it, though, and came through to score the decisive try, running an intelligent support line off Hendy’s left shoulder.

1. Alex Waller – 6.5
The veteran prop’s last outing before retirement, he put in a useful first-half shift that included topping his team’s interval tackle count. His slow second half, though, included the no-roll penalty that allowed Bath to close to two points and then there was a scrum-free concession. Exited on 53.

2. Curtis Langdon – 6
Described by Saints’ scrum coach Matt Ferguson in a RugbyPass interview this week as “a really stinky bit of cheese that gets to the back of your throat”, but Langdon wasn’t a catch-the-eye standout here in his 58th-minute performance.

3. Trevor Davison – 6.5
Had a difficult start at the scrum, inviting Russell to have an early penalty kick that he missed. Settled after that, going on to win a set-piece pressure reliever after Bath had closed to 15-10. Similar to Waller, however, he struggled in the second half with Bath’s momentum growing. Another gone on 58.

4. Alex Moon – 6.5
Bayonne-bound this summer, he initially came to the boil nicely in this one to help his team into their 12-point lead but then lost his way and was called ashore 10 minutes from time with his team trailing.

5. Alex Coles – 7
Although he finished as his team’s joint-best tackler with Freeman, he endured plenty of second-half adversity. That was a frustrating no-release on 64 followed by a knock-on some minutes later with Saints three points down.

6. Courtney Lawes – 7.5
The Brive-bound Saints legend began with a not-rolling-away penalty that gave Bath a nine-minute, three-point lead. His class soon materialised, though, with the sweet offload from the tackle in the move that got his team their lead with Freeman’s try. Then it was all about attitude and he just did enough to keep his team composed to secure their comeback win.

7. Tom Pearson – 7
This canny recruit from the busted London Irish could have been marked down as the going got tough in the second half and he was hooked on 61, but it was his power surge on the carry that electrified Saints for their two first-half tries, action that deserves much praise.

8. Juarno Augustus – 7.5
Having grown his reputation brilliantly throughout this season, he was levelled by Obano’s red-carded shoulder to the head and hit high again four minutes later when also carrying from his 22. Stuck at it but his not-rolling infringement, which gave Bath their lead, was his last act.

Replacements:
Saints went with a six-two forwards/back split and they had to dip into those reduced backline options with Hendy (8.5) needed for the injured Odendaal four minutes into the second half. He had a demoralising introduction, being at fault for the fumble that gave Muir the score-levelling try on 51, but he hit back brilliantly, creating the decisive try for Mitchell and also having other fine involvements.

Busy tackler Emmanuel Iyogun (7.5), who gave up a scrum penalty on 69 with his team trailing but won one after they had retaken the lead, immediately followed into the fray for the tiring Waller, with Sam Matavesi (6.5) and Elliot Millar-Mills (6.5) both arriving on 58.

Lewis Ludlam (7) was next for Pearson on 61 and his experience was important in Saints rebounding from the crisis of Bath going in front soon after. Sam Graham (6.5) came on with Saints behind, with Temo Mayanavanua, who missed a last-minute lineout catch, and Tom James following on 70.

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1 Comment
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john 12 days ago

We will never know if they would have won had bath kept 15 men on field biggest winner was rugby great support for both teams very good match

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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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