Saints stun Lyon in France
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Northampton kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions Cup with a dramatic 36-24 win over Lyon at the Matmut Stadium.
The men from Franklin’s Gardens crossed for tries from Mikey Haywood, Teimana Harrison, Cobus Reinach, George Furbank and James Fish while the French side turned in their best performance of the pool stages, with scores from Felix Lambey, Liam Gill and Charlie Ngatai.
Lyon prop Francisco Gomez Kodela was shown a yellow card in the 19th minute for a lineout infringement. Northampton kicked to the corner and powered the resulting lineout over the line for the opening try, with Haywood the beneficiary, but Dan Biggar’s conversion attempt was off target.
Nine years on from our last win in France, the boys pull a HUGE one out of the bag 💪🏼
Now we wait…
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) January 18, 2020
Pierre Mignoni’s side responded with their first try in the 25th minute. Scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne found a gap in the Saints defence and passed inside to Lambey, who scored unopposed at the posts, with Jonathan Wisniewski adding the conversion.
The hosts scored their second try in the 34th minute. Australian back-rower Gill took a quick tap penalty and drove over the line after a period of pressure inside the Saints’ 22. Wisniewski was on target with his conversion to extend the lead to nine points.
With half-time approaching, Northampton were penalised for holding on five metres from their own line. Wisniewski kicked the straightforward three points to give Lyon a 17-5 advantage at the break.
Saints scrumhalf and World Cup winner Cobus Reinach knocked on at the base of the lineout, but his side responded with a huge scrum to win a penalty against the head.
Northampton secured the lineout ball after kicking to the corner, and from the next phase Harrison showed real strength to power over the line for a try in the 46th minute. Biggar’s conversion was good, reducing the deficit to five.
Playing with a penalty advantage, Biggar put a grubber kick through to Harrison, who knocked on with the line at his mercy. Referee Daniel Jones went back for the previous offence and Biggar split the uprights to make it a two-point game.
Northampton went ahead in the 65th minute after Reinach outpaced Noa Nakaitaci to collect Biggar’s kick upfield and run in at the posts.
Their lead was short-lived, however, as centre Ngatai evaded a couple of tackles to score, with Wisniewski kicking the conversion to restore Lyon’s two-point lead.
Boyd’s side went ahead again in the 72nd minute after fullback Furbank sprinted through a gap and rounded opposite number Toby Arnold to score.
Saints put the result beyond doubt when replacement hooker Fish crashed over from short range for the Premiership outfit’s fifth score of the afternoon.
Tries: Lambey, Gill, Ngatai
Cons: Wisniewski 3
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Haywood, Harrison, Reinach, Furbank, Fish
Cons: Biggar 4
Yellow card: Francisco Gomez Kodela (Lyon, 18)
Lyon: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Xavier Mignot, 13 Josua Tuisova, 12 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Liam Gill, 7 Patrick Sobela, 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Virgile Bruni, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Badri Alkhazashvili, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Vivien Devisme, 18 Kévin Yaméogo, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Felix Lambey, 21 Jonathan Pélissié, 22 Ethan Dumortier, 23 Jean-Marcellin Buttin.
Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Andrew Symons, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison (co-captain), 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Alex Moon, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Alex Coles, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Harry Mallinder.
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)