Reinach's brace helps Northampton thrash Sale
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Cobus Reinach’s early double set Northampton Saints on their way to their biggest Premiership in for five years as they turned on the style against Sale Sharks winning 67-17.
The Saints, who began Round 13 ninth in the table, ran in nine tries as they ran riot at Franklin’s Gardens, with Thomas Collins joining Reinach in leading the scoring with a brace.
Meanwhile, Harlequins picked up where they left off in the Premiership as they returned to action with a dominant 47-33 victory against Worcester Warriors at The Stoop.
At the Rec, Joe Cokanasiga’s acrobatic first-half score helped Bath continue their impressive recent Premiership form and avenge a pre-Christmas defeat to Newcastle Falcons with a bonus-point 30-13 win.
David Strettle crossed with minutes left to send Saracens back to the top of the Premiership Rugby table thanks to a hard-fought 33-10 win against Leicester Tigers.
Northampton Saints 67-17 Sale Sharks
A Dan Biggar penalty got Northampton up and running before Lewis Ludlam burst into life, giving Ben Curry and Faf de Klerk the slip as he teed up Cobus Reinach for the first try of the game.
Biggar added the extras and then slotted away another three points from the tee, although AJ MacGinty matched that feat for Sale to make it 10-3.
But back came Northampton with another 10-point haul, Biggar kicking another penalty as well as converting a second try from Reinach, who raced clear to dot down after fine work from Taqele Naiyaravoro and Piers Francis.
The Saints had their third try as Tom Wood rumbled over, Francis adding the extras, but a raft of Northampton infringements at the lineout saw Sale rewarded with a penalty try six minutes before the break.
But there was still time for Rory Hutchinson and Jamie Gibson to dovetail and send Thomas Collins over and the home side picked up right where they left off in the second half, Ashee Tuala finishing off a sweeping team move, Francis converting.
At the other end, the Sharks’ two wings combined to get their team over the line, Byron McGuigan allowing Denny Solomona to score, MacGinty converting, but the Northampton onslaught continued, Naiyaravoro getting in on the act, with Francis booting the extras.
Lady luck even shined upon the Saints, Reece Marshall losing possession but George Furbank seizing upon the ball to push his team past the 50-point barrier, while No.13 Rory Hutchinson thrilled the Franklin’s Gardens faithful as he ran in a stirring length-of-the-field try, Francis converting both.
And there was still time for Collins to go over again, the Saints winger chipping the ball forward before receiving it back from Alex Mitchell to score, Francis rounding things off with his sixth conversion of the afternoon.
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Reinach 2, Wood, Collins 2, Tuala, Naiyaravoro, Furbank, Hutchinson
Cons: Biggar 2, Francis 6
Pens: Biggar 2
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Penalty Try, Solomona
Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tom Wood (captain), 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 James Fish, 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Heinrich Brüssow, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Tom Collins
Sale: 15 Sam James, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 James Phillips, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Luke James, 23 Arron Reed
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales and Philip Watters
TMO: Geoffrey Warren
Round 13 results 🔢
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 16, 2019
Harlequins 47-33 Worcester Warriors
Paul Gustard’s men were in third position in the table before the league’s five-week hiatus after claiming a bonus-point victory over bottom side Newcastle Falcons.
And they continued their push for a top four place with a comfortable victory against Warriors after racing out of the blocks in a scintillating opening 20 minutes.
Joe Marchant got the hosts off to a perfect start with less than two minutes on the clock after Gabriel Ibitoye latched on to Danny Care’s box kick and offloaded to the England centre.
Marcus Smith successfully added the extras before provider turned scorer when Ibitoye dotted down a second try on eight minutes after Jack Clifford found him in space.
Smith converted again to make it 14-0 and it was not long before the third try arrived.
Mike Brown was the scorer this time around, picking the ball up from the ruck and sprinting around the outside to cross for his first Premiership try of the season.
A third conversion from the boot of Smith poured more misery on the visitors, who had a try of their own chalked off when Duncan Weir’s effort was ruled out for a forward pass in the build-up.
Alan Solomons’ side finally got on the scoreboard just before the half hour, with Jack Singleton taking advantage of Worcester’s rolling maul from the line-out to burrow over.
Weir slotted the extras but Harlequins were not done yet and grabbed a bonus-point on the brink of half-time when Clifford collected a superb Brown crossfield kick to score in the corner.
Trailing 28-7 at the interval, Warriors needed to score first after the restart to give themselves hope but an Alex Dombrandt turnover dowsed a promising attack on 43 minutes.
But the visitors were able to close the gap moments later when, after a period of sustained pressure on the Quins’ line, they whipped the ball out wide to Bryce Heem to score in the corner.
Worcester’s resistance was dealt a further blow five minutes later, though, when Care picked and went over from a metre out following strong works from the forwards.
James Lang converted to give Harlequins a comfortable 35-12 cushion, but Warriors responded again when Josh Adams raced in for the visitors’ third try, converted by Chris Pennell.
And the entertainment continued in the closing ten minutes as Ben Tapuai got in on the act for Harlequins, before Michael Heaney grabbed a bonus-point try for Worcester.
James Lang then made it seventh heaven for Quins before Warriors managed to grab themselves a late consolation through Tom Howe – but it was not enough to stop the hosts from winning their third league game in a row to seal their return to the top four.
Try: Marchant, Ibitoye, Brown, Clifford, Care, Lang, Tapuai
Cons: Smith 4, Lang 2
For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Singleton, Heem, Adams, Heaney, Howe
Cons: Weir, Pennell 3
Yellow card: Mike Brown (Harlequins, 57)
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 James Horwill, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Will Collier, 2 Max Crumpton, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Josh Ibuanokpe, 19 Ben Glynn, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 James Lang, 23 Alofa Alofa
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze (captain), 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Marco Mama, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Ted Hill, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Tom Howe
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell and Jonathan Healy
TMO: Keith Lewis
⚫️🔙 on 🔝 @Saracens return to prime position in the #GallagherPrem with a bonus-point victory over @LeicesterTigers 👏@bathrugby and @SaintsRugby also climb the table with wins as it heats up in the middle 🔥
Top four predictions? pic.twitter.com/G3Ln61Rmaf
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 16, 2019
Bath 30-13 Newcastle Falcons
Falcons defeated Bath 16-8 at Kingston Park back in Round Eight but an efficient performance in the West Country means the hosts have now lost just one of their last five Premiership games.
Conversely, Newcastle have lost nine of their last ten matches in all competitions and conceded three first-half tries to Semesa Rokoduguni, Cokanasiga and Will Chudley before Francois Louw secured the try bonus late on.
The boot of Toby Flood and Nemani Nagusa’s first try for the club had kept Falcons in the contest for a while but the 30-13 triumph was no less than Bath deserved for what was, at times, a dominant display.
An end-to-end opening saw Rhys Priestland and Flood exchange early penalties but Bath made a more telling breakthrough midway through the first half.
After heroic Falcons defence to repel wave after wave of home carries inside their five-metre line, Bath spread the ball wide from a scrum and quick hands from Priestland and Tom Homer allowed Rokoduguni to canter in.
The deficit was narrowed to 8-6 by Flood when the hosts were pinged for not rolling away but three England internationals combined to put Bath further ahead – Rokoduguni’s powerful carry made big yards before Jonathan Joseph stabbed a kick towards the left touchline, where Joe Cokanasiga collected on the run and acrobatically dotted down in the corner.
Chudley then made it 20-6 at the break when a driving maul from an attacking line-out got within a few metres of the Falcons line, the scrum-half sniped off the edge, showed his strength to drag Flood with him and stretched out to touched down.
Priestland slotting just one of three conversion attempts meant the lead was only 14 points and that was sliced in half early in the second period as Fijian international Nagusa went over for his first Newcastle try off the back of a driving maul.
Falcons looked set to grab another try almost immediately afterwards but a brilliant steal from Tom Dunn – making his 100th Bath Rugby appearance – denied them and Priestland’s 65th-minute penalty took the advantage to more than one score.
The result – and the four-try bonus point – was then secured seven minutes from time as relentless home pressure ended with Louw burrowing over from close-range and Sinoti Sinoti summed up Newcastle’s recent woes when Cokanasiga dislodged the ball as the Falcons wing was leaping over the tryline at the death.
Tries: Rokoduguni, Cokanasiga, Chudley, Louw
Cons: Priestland 2
Pens: Priestland 2
For Newcastle Falcons:
Pens: Flood 2
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Elliott Stooke, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Max Green, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Ruaridh McConnochie
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Pedro Bettencourt, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Will Welch (captain), 5 Andrew Davidson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Sam Lockwood
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 David Wilson, 19 Will Witty, 20 John Hardie, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Ben Stevenson
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe and Matthew O’Grady
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Saracens 33-10 Leicester Tigers
Mark McCall’s men trailed 5-10 at the break with a Jonah Holmes try on the stroke of half-time cancelling out Richard Wigglesworth’s earlier effort for the hosts.
But they soon rallied after the break, scoring 28 unanswered points to take full advantage of Exeter’s defeat at Gloucester on Friday.
Tom Woolstencroft, Ben Spencer and wing David Strettle all scored tries, while Alex Goode and Alex Lozowski shared 12 points with the boot.
Wigglesworth’s early try was what Saracens deserved for all their early pressure. Matt Gallagher, having recently extended his contract at Allianz Park, was rock solid under the high ball all afternoon, and Matt Toomua’s tactic of testing the young fullback’s mettle was answered stylishly by the former England Under-20s cap.
Fielding yet another aerial hanger close to the touchline, Gallagher took the traffic-laden route ahead of him rather than kicking for safety. Gliding past three would-be tacklers, he found support in Nick Isiekwe, who in turn fed Wigglesworth for an excellent score.
Having weathered the early storm, Geordan Murphy’s side got a grip with the challenge in front of them, happy to soak up a large amount of work defensively and rely on the counter-attacking ability of their wide men.
That plan came to fruition just before the break, when Jonah Holmes, released from the Wales camp this week, scorched home from 20 metres – the rangy wide man profited from George Worth’s dummy and quick feet to open up a Saracens defence that would not put a foot wrong for the remainder of the game.
Toomua missed a second straightforward kick at goal early on in the second half, before a couple of Alex Lozowski penalties took Mark McCall’s men into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Woolstencroft muscled over from a bruising catch and drive, before Spencer picked off Toomua’s opportunistic pass to scamper home for number three, and despite the clock being against them, they found time for the fourth; Strettle easing his way past some tired tackles to dot down.
Tries: Wigglesworth, Woolstencroft, Spencer, Strettle
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Lozowski 2, Goode
For Leicester Tigers:
Saracens: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 David Strettle, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Alex Goode, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Dom Day, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Richard Barrington
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Ralph Adams-Hale, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mike Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Max Malins, 23 Nick Tompkins
Leicester: 15 George Worth, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Ben White, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Greg Bateman
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Will Evans, 20 Harry Wells, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Tom Hardwick, 23 Sam Aspland-Robinson
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix and Peter Allan
TMO: Graham Hughes