Saints hold off Ospreys in LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup

Northampton held off a late Ospreys comeback to hang on and win the opening match of the LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup 17-19 at the Liberty Stadium.


Northampton raced away to a 13-0 lead in the match which was held in Swansea through a try from James Cannon and Stephen Myler’s boot.


The Ospreys lost their captain Ian Gough as he left the field with a shoulder injury but were boosted by a first half convrted try from Richard Hibbard.


In the second half the Saints lost Jon Vickers to the sin bin which allowed Jon Spratt to score and then Gareth Owen put the Ospreys into the lead.


Northampton Saints kicker Stephen Myler however sealed the victory with his boot with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.

 

The Anglo Welsh Cup has been given a new format this season.Teams have been split into four groups of four teams with each side having four fixtures in the pool stages against teams from other groups.

 

The tournament will test it’s participants depth as it will be played on autumn Test and Six Nations weekends when international players are not available.

 

This was evident in the match as the 2008 winners were without 12 players on international duty and a further 17 unavailable due to injury.

 

Northampton had made nine changes from the side which lost to Leicester Tigers on the weekend including Ben Foden who started at full-back after being released by England squad and Alan Dickens who came in at scrum-half to lead the side.

 

The match was the first time that the Ospreys had played Northampton Saints and the first Liberty Stadium match on a Thursday which might explain the poor attendance of just 4322.

 

Northampton Sainst Senior Academy forward James Cannon was on hand to finish a move begun by Ben Foden’s break, and he acknowledged what was owed to the full back.

 

“Fodes did all the hard work and I was in the right place at the right time,” Cannon told the Saints website.

 

“It’s not often that I score tries, so it is a little bit special and one to remember. It’s now two in two weeks for the second rows, so the backs need to pull their fingers out!

 

“We talked during the week about putting the Leicester result aside and raising our game for this match in Swansea. It’s not an easy place to come and the boys did well to refocus and get a good result.

 

Cannon’s debut score for the first team came hot on the heels of his Guinness Premiership debut at Leicester last Saturday.

“I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity,” he added.

 

“Although it’s come from positive things happening to Courtney and disappointments for Nacho and Juandre I’m hoping to take it with both hands.”

 

It was a first LV= Cup win for the Saints on their maiden game at the Liberty Stadium, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton that he was satisfied with the result.

 

“It’s always nice to come down to Wales and win,” he said.

 

“It wasn’t the best of performances but we’ll drive back up the motorway quite content. We had a relatively inexperienced front five, who I thought did well, and we scrummaged well. The lineout went well and we took our opportunities.

 

“We scored a good try. The Ospreys defended well, particularly stopping going around the corner at the second phase. It was one of those games that was a bit basketballish at times.”

 

“They had some opportunities but we defended well and got quite a number of turnovers.”

 

Mallinder also had praise for Cannon and th

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