Clermont too strong
This weekend we travelled to sunny Clermont-Ferrand to take on the French side that we had faced twice already in the European cup. This weekend was slightly different however. It was knock out rugby! A first European quarter final for a couple of years for Northampton, all be it in the second tier competition, but knock out rugby non the less. We had come up against Clermont twice before in the competition, the first game getting beaten very convincingly at home. The French side we’re just too strong on that day and they ran away with it a little bit. The second meeting came in France, when we travelled over the channel to give them a good battle. That day we ended up losing 48-40 in one of the most free flowing, exciting games of rugby I have ever played in!
The game started fast, as you’d imagine with a French team packed full of international stars. They started strongly, Landing the first punch through a penalty and then a try. A Dan Biggar penalty brought the score back to 8-3 with 25 minutes gone. Then Clermont had two break away tries that stretched their lead and gave them some breathing room. After half time they scored again, to take the score to 30-3. Clermont looked gone for all money, until a charge from the saints really silenced the home crowd. Luther Burrell and Ah See Tuala bought some real impetus off the bench with Burrell bursting through the line to set up 2 tried and score one himself. This bought the game back to 6 points 31-37 and the Clermont side looked shaken. Off the kick off saints made a mistake, and Clermont capitalised, by kicking a penalty. Then the flood gates opened, Clermont scored 3 quick tries to take the game away from the saints! For a few moments it really looked as if saints were going to have one of the greatest come backs of European rugby! But it wasn’t to be. The men in yellow ran out comfortable winners, putting 60 points on the lads in black green and gold. This score line didn’t really give a true reflection of the game, and fair play to saints they kept fighting, but it wasn’t to be this time round in Europe and our journey in this completion ended.
This weekend we welcome a fire power filled Gloucester team to Franklin’s gardens. This is a massive fixture in the Gallagher premiership, with Gloucester in third and the saints looking for top 4 it seems to be a must win game for the Northampton boys. I’m sure the gardens will be as lively as ever and it would be great to see as many of you there as possible!! As always, thanks for your brilliant support. We go again.