Still in the hunt
On Friday night we took on Newcastle Falcons in round 20 of the Gallagher premiership. The Falcons currently sat bottom of the table, needed a win to give them any real hope of staying up in the English top flight for next season. Northampton on the other hand needed 5 points away from home to keep their top 4 chances alive and give them a real chance of playing play off football at the end of the season.
As you would imagine the Falcons game out hissing from the kick off and a few Northampton errors led to allowing them onto the score board early through Tane Takalua’s boot. It didn’t take long for the saints to hit their stride however and they started playing some really good rugby. Cobus Reinach and Tom Collins showed their pace and skill to combine for 2 brilliant scores. Coupled with a 2 Dan Biggar penalties it seamed like Newcastle had the stuffing knocked out of them. 3 quick tries and Northampton were out to a 24-3 lead. Half time came and to the common spectator it may have looked as if the game was over. But Northampton knew they were playing against a team fighting for their life and they were not going to go down without a fight. As expected, the start of the second half came round and Newcastle hit their stride. They forced mistakes from the Northampton side and pinned them in their half. Northampton were playing into a breeze and they struggled to get out of their 3rd, coughing the ball up and giving Newcastle opportunities. Newcastle took their opportunities and closed the gap on Northampton. Before they knew it the score was 24-17 and Newcastle were within 7 points. It was getting a bit close for comfort and Northampton still needed that 4th try to give them the full 5 points the desperately needed. Step up Alex Mitchell. The young scrum half did exactly what Cobus Reinach has been doing all season and came up with an absolute game changing bit of magic. He flew off the tail of the line out intercepting the opposite scrum half’s pass and he flew under the posts. A sigh of relief from all Northampton fans as that put them to 14 points ahead with 2 minutes to go. The score line looks good for the saints but the second half performance will be very frustrating for the side who are now sat in 4th. There will be lots of work going into making sure they can replicate that first half performance for a full 80 minutes.
This weekend we welcome Worcester warriors to the Gardens for the last home game of the season. The Warriors have secured safety in the premiership and will be coming to Northampton with a nothing to lose attitude. The saints need another 5 points to keep the hopes of top 4 well and truly alive. I am sure the gardens will be rocking as usual and fingers crossed the weather holds out to give for a good spectacle of rugby.
I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible to cheer the boys on one last time in the 2018/19 season. As always, thank you for your support.