Northampton down Exeter Chiefs to top Premiership

Northampton Saints went to the top of the Aviva Premiership standings when they beat Exeter Chiefs 16-17 at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Exeter were leading two minutes from full time but 90 seconds from George Pisi scored the Saints third try and Stephen Myler converted to give Northampton the lead and the victory.

Saracens earlier loss to London Irish allowed Northampton to move above the former leaders. Northampton have not led the Premiership since November 2012.

The victory sets a new club record for Northampton Saints as they have now won eight matches in a row.

Unconverted tries from James Wilson and Samu Manoa gave the Saints a 10-9 advantage
going into the break. Gareth Steenson responded with three penalties for Exeter
and they took the lead when Dave Lewis went over for a converted touchdown.

But in difficult conditions, the Chiefs couldn’t hold out and Pisi’s try, allied
by Stephen Myler’s conversion, took Northampton to the summit.

Rob Baxter’s men have endured a difficult period in the Premiership and started
the game down in eighth position. They opened the match in the worst possible
fashion when Dean Mumm was sin-binned for a stamp, but the Chiefs managed to
halt the initial Northampton surge.

In fact, despite being down to 14 men, it was Exeter that opened the scoring
through the boot of Steenson.

However, the visitors responded impressively by taking the ball through several
phases before good hands sent Wilson across the whitewash.

Although the home side’s fly-half restored their advantage after 34 minutes
via a penalty, the restart saw the Saints claim the ball and set Manoa up in
the corner.

With the wind at their backs, the West Country outfit ideally needed to take
a lead into the interval but all they could manage was a third Steenson three-pointer.

Baxter’s side were forced to move the ball from deep in the second period with
conditions against them, but it seemed to inspire the Chiefs. Exeter made a
number of yards with ball in hand and GJ van Velze was sin-binned for preventing
Lewis from taking a tap penalty.

The scrum-half was to prove influential soon after when a driving maul ended
in the former Gloucester man scampering over from close range. As conditions
worsened, so did the quality of play.

Even so, Jim Mallinder’s team still managed to string together a number of
phases which pressurised the hosts’ line. They held out in a dramatic final
few minutes until Pisi’s excellent line and Myler’s conversion rescued a result.

Final Score Exeter Chiefs 16 (9) Northampton Saints 17 (10)


Exeter Chiefs
Tries – Lewis
Pen -Steenson (3)
Con – Steenson
Drop –

Northampton Saints
Tries – Wilson, Manoa
Pen –
Con –
Drop –

Match Officials
Greg Garner ( Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce and Kelvin Stewart.
TMO: Ashley Rowden.



15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Alex Brown, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Hoani Tui, 19 Don Armand, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Fetu’u Vainikolo

Northampton Saints

15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13

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