Six-try Northampton spoil the London Irish Patrick's Day party
Northampton spoiled the London Irish St Patrick’s Day party with a 42-22 Gallagher Premiership win at Brentford Community Stadium. Chris Boyd’s side kept their top-four hopes alive with a six-try showing that helped them leapfrog shell-shocked Irish in the league standings. Irish had gone 8-0 up early on thanks to a try from Ollie Hassell-Collins and a penalty from Paddy Jackson.
But that was as good as it got for the home side in front of a big crowd as the Saints turned on the style. Tom Collins started the scoring on a day when he would deliver a try double, with Rory Hutchinson, Alex Mitchell, Fraser Dingwall and a penalty try bolstering the Saints tally.
London Irish had hoped to further their own top-four ambitions and they were ahead inside five minutes as Hassell-Collins scored in the corner. Jackson missed the conversion but soon made amends with a penalty from in front of the posts. But the Saints finally started to find their feet, and their counter-attacking game was coming to the fore.
Irish had to scramble to stop Hutchinson inside their 22, but there was no stopping Collins soon after as Hutchinson found him with a lovely long pass. Dan Biggar converted and he was soon doing so again after another razor-sharp break, involving Api Ratuniyarawa and Mitchell, resulted in Hutchinson beating four players and rolling towards the line to score.
Northampton held out well after some pressure from Irish, and things boiled over just before the break as London Irish lock Rob Simmons was yellow-carded after his shoulder made contact with the head of Hutchinson at the breakdown.
The Saints were six points and a man up at the break, and they threatened after the restart, though Courtnall Skosan and Ratuniyarawa. But the Irish did finally concede when referee Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty try and a yellow card after Nick Phipps had illegally ripped the ball from Sam Matavesi’s grasp during a huge Saints lineout drive.
And Northampton quickly bagged their bonus-point score as Skosan flew down the right before passing inside for Mitchell to run it in. Biggar converted and the Saints were flying, with Dingwall soon delivering try number five after running a lovely line.
Collins was next, spotting a gap and planting the perfect kick ahead before chasing it down and scoring. Hutchinson converted and it was the stuff of dreams for the Saints. There was one low point for the away side before the end as Skosan was forced off with an injury, meaning Northampton had to finish the game with 14 men.
Irish grabbed two late consolation scores through Phipps, while Furbank was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on two minutes from time, but it was the Saints who were celebrating come the final whistle.
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