The run comes to an end
On Saturday afternoon, a windy Franklins Gardens was host to Bristol bears for the second time this season. The first time they visited we took them on in the Premiership Rugby Cup which we are now in the final of. It was wet and windy, but that didn’t stop both teams throwing the ball around and I was pretty sure it would be the same again on Saturday. We won that match and managed to put 50 points on the West Country side which really kick started our PRC campaign. This time round it was in the league and the points up for grabs could of made a massive difference to the table with it being so congested in the middle this year.
We started the game slowly, Bristol managed to hold onto the ball for long periods of time and a couple of laps’ in concentration meant that they took a 12-0 lead after 10 minutes. This was not the start we were looking for. We managed to get into the game through a Taqele Naiyaravoro score in the corner. The big man was causing problems for the bears as he stormed down the wing multiple times. The game was swinging back and forth and neither team really had any control. Half time came around and Bristol lead 12-5. Some stern words were needed to be said at half time by Chris Boyd and you can bet they were said. We came out flying in the first 15 minutes of the second half, scoring 2 tries and putting some real pressure on Bristol. The pressure didn’t amount to too much though as Bristol scored a break away score against the run of play which brought them back into the game. This wasn’t was we needed. Bristol are the type of team that thrive on scrappy games, they are brilliant off turnovers and they have some very dangerous backs. The loose nature of the game suited them down to the ground. We didn’t manage the game that well and made some mistakes during crucial periods, this meant that they were in the game with 10 minutes to go. Bristol worked their way into our half and with some ill disciple they pushed right up onto our 5 meter line. Penalty after penalty was awarded and the referee gave a couple of yellow cards. Bristol then opted for a scrum against a severely depleted Northampton scrum, another 2 yellow cards were given and we were down to 11 men. It was going to take something crazy to stop Bristol scoring and I am quite surprised a penalty try wasn’t given by this stage. However we managed to put pressure on at the scrum and they played away, scoring out wide. The pressure was now on Ian Madigan to kick the goal and win the game for the away team. As you’d expect from an international fly half, he stepped up and knocked the ball over to snatch the win for his side. Boos rang round the gardens and rightly so, it was a game we should have won and we were the masters of our own downfall. It just goes to show that if you don’t look after the ball for long periods of time then you won’t create any pressure. More often than not at the top flight if you don’t create pressure you won’t score many points and that was the case this weekend.
The great thing about rugby is that you get the chance to go and put it all right the following week. What a game to get to do it in as well! Saracens, at home, in the final of the Premiership Rugby Cup. I am sure that Franklins Gardens will be absolutely bouncing come Sunday afternoon and I know all the boys are chomping at the bit to get out there and give it their all to bring some silverware back to Northampton.
Thanks for all your support, hopefully a few of you have managed to get tickets for the game. If you haven’t, it is being shown on BT sport on Sunday afternoon if you wish to tune in.
Have a great week!