29 - 10HT 17 - 7

Franklin's Gardens
Att TBC
Sat 26 Dec 20, 4:30pm

Highlights & Report | Northampton Saints 29-10 Worcester Warriors

There was no festive cheer for Warriors as they ended 2020 with a performance that encapsulated the season so far at a wet and windy Franklin’s Gardens.

Warriors were dangerous in attack and created numerous excellent scoring opportunities but only one of them was converted into a try, scored by Billy Searle in the first half.

Northampton were more clinical with ball in hand and clinched a bonus point when replacement hooker Mikey Haywood was driven over late in the game.

Warriors defended heroically in their own 22 and would have been good value for at least a losing bonus point had they managed to finish off a couple more of their attacks.

Ollie Lawrence was a constant menace to Northampton with ball in hand and Searle had a composed game in difficult conditions at fly-half which saw him score all ten points.

But Nick David was unable to hold on to a pass from Lawrence when Warriors had an overlap, a storming run from Justin Clegg went unrewarded as did an interception from Niall Annett and Marc Thomas was unable to ground the ball when he tried to drive over in injury time for what would have been a maiden try.

A third minute penalty from Dan Biggar gave Northampton an early lead which they built on with a penalty try when Melani Nanai was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on when he was left to defend a 3-1 overlap.

But Warriors did well to deny Northampton a further score while they were down to 14 men with Biggar missing a long range penalty.

Instead Warriors reduced the deficit shortly after Nanai returned from the sin bin with a superbly worked try that was started and finished by Searle.

The fly-half collected a high ball that swirled awkwardly in the stiff breeze and Warriors shipped the ball right where Perry Humphreys and Francois Hougaard combined well to open up the defence.

The point of attack then switched to the left wing where Nick David made ground and Searle arrived to collect the scoring pass and he then added a touchline conversion for good measure.

But Northampton responded with a free-flowing try of their own with Biggar making the thrust and scrum-half Alex Mitchell touching down under the posts.

Northampton thought they had scored again just before the break when Alex Waller drove over from a lineout but TMO Nigel Carrick spotted an obstruction in the build-up and the try was wiped off.

The gap was closed by Searle with a penalty ten minutes into the second half but it could and should have been more after Clegg broke free and Biggar went off-side to kill the ball for which he spent ten minutes in the sin bin.

Warriors withstood a long period of pressure with some outstanding defence close to the line but Saints stole a defensive lineout and launched a sustained attack from which Biggar picked a gap and went over.

A losing bonus point was still within grasp until Haywood rumbled over for the bonus point try a minute from time.

Warriors | 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Ashley Beck (Morris 75), 11 Nick David, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Francois Hougaard (Simpson 66), 1 Ethan Waller (Thomas 66), 2 Niall Annett (Cutting 66), 3 Nick Schonert (Palframan 66), 4 Justin Clegg, 5 Andrew Kitchener (Batley 76), 6 Ted Hill (C), 7 Marco Mama, 8 Cornell du Preez (Lewis 66).

Replacements | 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Oli Morris.

Timeline
3m | Biggar pen 3-0
14m | Penalty Try 10-0
27m | Searle try 10-5
28m | Searle con 10-7
29m | Mitchell try 15-7
30m | Biggar con 17-7
50m | Searle pen 17-10
65m | Biggar try 22-10
66m | Biggar con 24-10
79m | Haywood try 29-10

Competition: Gallagher Premiership Rugby
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Game Type: Away
Fixture Round: 4
Attendance:
No. Name T C D P
15 George Furbank
14 Matty Proctor
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Ahsee Tuala
10 Dan Biggar 1T 2C 1P
9 Alex Mitchell 1T
1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Nick Isiekwe
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam
8 Teimana Harrison
Replacements
16 Mikey Haywood 1T
17 Francois van Wyk
18 Owen Franks
19 Alex Moon
20 Shaun Adendorff
21 Tom James
22 Tom Collins
23 Taqele Naiyaravoro