A topsy turvy encounter
Sunday afternoon at Franklins Gardens played host to Northampton Saints Vs Gloucester rugby in the Gallagher Premiership. Gloucester currently sat in 3rd position were coming to the saints looking to really secure their top four position. Northampton on the other hand were looking to put some real pressure on Harlequins who are currently sat in 4th spot and will be facing Northampton the following week. There was a potential for a 8 point swing from Harlequins to the Saints which would spice things up for the final run in to the end of the season.
Northampton started the game the better of the two sides, scoring first and causing the cherry and whites some real issues. Big Taqele Naiyaravoro rampaged down the wing for what is becoming a trade mark sight for the Gordon terrace. Gloucester then bounced back with two quick tries as they began to find their feet in the game and started getting the power runners of their own into full flow. Danny Cipriani at fly half for the away side began to pull the strings nicely as we have seen him do all year. From the stand it was quality to watch, how he manipulated the defence when he had the ball. I’m sure many will agree with me that he is being hard done by not being involved in some sense with the England set up.
The game was going back and forth, both teams eager to play attractive rugby and really move the ball around. Gloucester seemed to be having slightly more success however as they scored two quick tries and they got some day light between themselves and the boys in black green and gold. Mark Atkinson had completed a first half hat-trick and some silky line out play saw them score another. Gloucester were up to a 40-24 lead and looked in control. It wasn’t for a bit of Rory Hutchinson magic that bought hope back into the game for the saints. He managed to beat a defender and then race away from two more to score a brilliant solo effort. His score meant that Northampton needed 2 more points to come away from the game with 2 points which could be very beneficial with the next few games coming up. However it wasn’t to be on this occasion as Gloucester edged it out. 5 tries from the saints wasn’t good enough to get the much needed win and it was again the defence which let us down this weekend. I’m sure there will be some tough work put in on the training pitch this week to put our defensive mistakes right.
This Saturday we take on Harlequins who sit in 4th position in the table. It is a must win game for us as it will give us the best chance of finishing 4th and a shot at the play offs. Harlequins are a team that has gone from strength to strength this season under new coaching. They have a very attacking back line and some threats up front in their pack. I have no doubt it will be a physical but fast encounter with both sides trying to play stylish free flowing rugby. Having said this I feel that defence will win the game, and whichever side can dominate collisions and slow the ball down will go along way in keeping the other teams attack quiet.
As always thank you for your brilliant support. It means a lot and it would be great to see you at our last home game in a few weeks against Worcester!