Northampton secure epic victory over Leinster

 Northampton Saints recovered from their loss at home last week to Leinster by upsetting the former champions 9-18 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Last week Northampton Saints lost by a margin of 33 points at home to Leinster but recovered magnificently by keeping Leinster tryless whilst scoring two tries of their own.

Northampton made a strong start with a try by George North and led 3-7 at half time.

The Saints spent most of the second half and with three minutes left on the clock Kahn Fotuali’i sent over a drop goal which meant that Leinster had to go for the try to win the match.

Leinster went through 17 phases and put Northampton under immense pressure on their tryline as the clock ticked over the 80 minute mark.

The hosts failed to find an opening on the right so they changed direction as they neared the centre of the field Ireland international Jamie Heaslip fumbled the ball in front of Jamie Elliott who picked it up and raced the length of the field to score Northampton’s second try which cost Leinster a losing bonus point.

Leinster Rugby had their 100% Pool 1 record ended by Northampton Saints in
an Aviva Stadium thriller that cut Leinster’s lead at the top of the group to
four points.

It also left Ulster Rugby as the sole team still able to boast four from four
ahead of the final two rounds of matches in the New Year.

Leinster, the reigning Amlin Challenge Cup champions, were playing their 125th
tournament match but suffered only their second defeat from their last 17 home

Saints’ start help to put a
damper on a vibrant and expectant Dublin crowd which helped set the tone for the match.

Teenager Tom Collins had Rob Kearney in trouble with the Saints wing’s pure
pace on the turn and the Leinster man impedes him short of the line.

Northampton opted to kick for touch, making a clear statement of intent, and
they followed that up brilliantly with North running a great line for a superb
try and first blood to the visitors.

Steve Myler added the conversion but Ian Madigan got Leinster up and running
with a 10th minute penalty as the contest really came alight.

And the Saints were unrecognisable from the side humbled 40-7 at Franklins
Gardens the previous weekend – “we were embarrassed out there and came
second best,” confessed Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder – this time taking
the game to Leinster at every opportunity.

Myler was off target with a penalty goal chance just before the break but the
action so far had promised another thrilling, nerve-tingling 40 minutes to come.

And Madigan took just a few moments of those 40 remaining to land a second
penalty goal and cut the deficit to just a single point, Saints the first to
start ringing the changes with the introductions of Tom Mercy and Kahn Fotuali’i.

Leinster soon followed with Michael Bent, Kevin McLaughlin, Martin Moore and
Zane Kirchner all joining the action and reinforcing Leinster’s challenge but
it was the boot of Myler that had the next say with a penalty that took them
into double figures when, having turned down the possibility of three points
for the possibility of five a couple of times, Dylan Hartley points to the posts
on this occasion and Myler does the business.

However, those three points are cancelled out just eight minutes later with
Madigan’s third successful penalty goal to set up a pulsating grandstand finish.

Nerves were clearly jangling as Myler was off target with a penalty goal chance
for Saints but Fotuali’I shoeds calmness itself to drop a glorious goal with
just two minutes to go after some telling mauling by his pack.

It was left to Jamie Elliott to provide the icing on the Saints cake with their
second try at the death and although Myler c

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