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Saints book play-off spot with statement win over Bayonne

MATCH REPORT: Northampton Saints became the first team to qualify for the Champions Cup Round of 16 with a 61-14 mauling of Aviron Bayonnais.


The crowd at Franklin’s Gardens were treated to 11 tries – 9 of them for the hosts –with flank Tom Pearson getting three as Fin Smith converted all but one.

The TOP 14 side were made to endure a brutal first 40 minutes from the Premiership leaders, who set the tone early when wing Tommy Freeman scored after just one minute, the first of six first half tries.

Pearson then scored his first two either side of a yellow card for Aviron Bayonnais prop Tevita Tatafu, while Courtney Lawes, hooker Curtis Langdon and prop Alex Waller also got over.

Smith kicked extras for all six tries, sending the impervious Northampton Saints in 42-0 to the good at the break.

But there was not to be much relief for Aviron Bayonnais in the second period.

Pearson picked up his hat-trick five minutes in after some impressive hands between himself and Freeman, who typified Northampton Saints’ extraordinary performance as he picked up the Man of the Match honour.

The hosts would add two more, as Waller grabbed his second and replacement Tom James also got over, but the visitors would not be completely shut out as Tom Spring and fullback Aurélien Callandret picked up tries, Thomas Dolhagaray added the extras.

The result puts Northampton Saints on 14 points, further solidifying their position at the top of Pool Three.


They will look to secure a home Round of 16 tie when they face Munster in Round Four, while Aviron Bayonnais will host Exeter Chiefs as they battle to stay in the competition.

The scorers:

For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Freeman, Pearson 3, Lawes, Langdon, Waller 2, James
Cons: Smith 8

For Bayonne:
Tries: Spring, Callandret
Cons: Dolhagaray 2

Yellow card: Tevita Tatafu (Bayonne, 16)


Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank (captain), 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Tommy Freeman, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 George Hendy , 10 Fin Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Sam Graham, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Tom Lockett, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Emmanuel Iyogun, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Angus Scott-Young, 22 Tom James, 23 Tom Litchfield

Bayonne: 15 Cheikh Tiberghien, 14 Bastien Pourailly, 13 Peyo Muscarditz, 12 Riko Buliruarua, 11 Rémy Baget, 10 Thomas Dolhagaray, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Baptiste Heguy, 6 Pierre Huguet, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Denis Marchois, 3 Tevita Tatafu, 2 Facundo Bosch, 1 Matis Perchaud.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Sco)
Assistant Referees: Ian Kenny (Sco), David Sutherland (Sco)
TMO: Hollie Davidson (Sco)

Source: @ChampionsCup

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