Finals rugby back at the Gardens!
On Saturday afternoon Northampton Saints welcomed Newcastle Falcons to a sunny, but incredibly windy Franklins Gardens. The competition was the Premiership rugby cup, and it was a semi final! As a rugby player these are the days you look forward to. Training all week has had that slight edge. A little bit of nervous tension because it is now knock out rugby. If you lose, that is it. You’re out. So you’d expect to come flying out the blocks and be brilliant from the off? It wasn’t like the for the saints.
Newcastle kicked long and boxed us in the corner making us kick the ball out. They were straight on the offensive and scored a try 2 minutes into the game. That knocked the wind out of our sales to say the least. Then 5 minutes later they scored another, and 5 minutes after that they scored 1 more. It was 21-0 after 15 minutes of rugby and we didn’t know where to look. Dropped balls, running into touch, missing tackles, you name it we were doing it. It took a spark from someone to get us going in this match and up stepped Rory Hutchinson. He broke from our own 22 rounded the full back and put George Furbank away to score and get us on the board. That didn’t stop Newcastle scoring straight away after the kick off to effectively chalk off our try. We managed to score 2 quick tries just before the break to get a bit of respect back on the score board and we went into half time losing 28-21. Not the ideal start to a semi final to say the least.
The second half was a different story however, we came out absolutely firing. We played with much more tempo, we won the contact area, the break down was much faster and we were a lot more direct. This meant we got on the front foot and kept our foot on their throats. We scored 2 tries in quick succession. This made the score 33-28 to us. A poor bit of defending meant Newcastle levelled the scores and were back in the game. We really needed to score next. Luckily we did through a brilliant driving maul. This try gave us the confidence to close out the game and to really put our foot on the throat. The game ended up 59-33 to the Saints, a great game for the spectators to watch, even if it was a little bit of a shock to be 21 points down in the first 15 minutes. Man of the match was Rory Hutchinson which was very well deserved, he created opportunities time after time and he linked up very well with George Furbank at full back who had his best game in saints colours.
Winning this semi final means we will take on saracens in the final. This will be held at Franklins Gardens which is a massive boost for us getting to play in front of our home faithful. Something that never gets old and really is our 16th man. The final is scheduled to be played on Sunday the 17th of march and fingers crossed we can get a sold out Franklins Gardens.
As always thank you for your support, it has been brilliant this year and its nice to see the gardens becoming that fortress is once was again. Hopefully see you on Saturday when we take on sale sharks in the Gallagher premiership.