Saints snatch dramatic win over Wasps
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Late heroics from Taqele Naiyaravoro rescued a 35-31 victory from the jaws of defeat for Northampton Saints as they claimed their first league win at the Ricoh Arena.
A penalty try had given Wasps the lead going into the final minutes of the game after the visitors had been reduced to 13 men when Tom Collins saw red and Cobus Reinach was sin-binned.
But Saints showed their never-say-die spirit to work their way deep into the Wasps half before Naiyaravoro crashed over the whitewash with just three minutes to play.
The visitors had led going into the half-time break after tries from Reinach and Teimana Harrison, both converted by Dan Biggar, put Saints 14-10 in front.
Further scores from Tom Wood and Reinach after the restart increased Northampton’s lead but Wasps soon added to Marcus Watson’s first-half effort to pile the pressure on Chris Boyd’s men.
Jimmy Gopperth and then Matteo Minozzi crossed within five minutes of each other, both tries converted by Jacob Umaga, before Collins saw red for serious foul play on 64 minutes.
With Saints a man down, Wasps were denied a certain try by Reinach – who was sin-binned as a result for a deliberate knock on – before being awarded a penalty try by the TMO.
But against the odds, the visitors had one more trick up their sleeve. Naiyaravoro came off the bench to score the match-winning try and keep Saints just one point behind Exeter Chiefs at the summit.
Tries: Watson, Gopperth, Minozzi, Penalty Try
Cons: Umaga 3
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Reinach 2, Harrison, Wood, Naiyaravoro
Cons: Biggar 5
Red card: Tom Collin (Saints, 64); Cobus Reinach (Saints, 69)
Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Jack Willis, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Thibaud Flament, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Will Porter, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Juan de Jongh.
Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison (co-captain), 7 Tom Wood, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Alex Moon, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace & Hamish Smales.
TMO: Graham Hughes.