Northampton down Worcester to go top again

Northampton Saints moved back to the top of the Aviva Premiership standings when they beat Worcester 30-14 at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

A low-key first half with chances few and far between saw Northampton lead
9-6 at the break, with Chris Pennell scoring penalties either side of three
Stephen Myler kicks.

The first 15 minutes of the second-half saw more action than the entirety of
the first 40 minutes as the Saints were awarded a penalty try before David Lemi
hit back for the visitors with a try of his own, only to see Northampton score
another try soon after through Gerrit-Jan van Velze.

Jonathan Thomas was then sent off for punching before Sam Dickinson and Leonardo
Senatore were sin binned. van Velze sealed the victory with his second try with
just over 10 minutes remaining.

The Warriors opened the scoring after just five minutes when a penalty was
awarded at the scrum which Pennell dispatched.

Pennell had the opportunity to double Worcester’s lead when a penalty was awarded
near the halfway line after play was brought back following a review from the
TMO, but Pennell’s kick fell just short.

Despite seeing plenty of the ball, Worcester failed to make significant ground
with it, and a Myler penalty gave the hosts good territory before winning another
penalty, which the fly-half kicked to level the match.

The Saints came close to scoring the opening try of the game when Samu Manoa
expertly started a promising move before Jamie Elliott was denied out wide by
the covering Pennell.

Northampton did extend their lead soon after though as an off-the-ball altercation
produced a penalty for Myler, who made no mistake with the kick.

Worcester again found themselves in possession but saw their profligacy punished
with another penalty, with Myler extending the lead to six points.

Pennell earned a penalty for the visitors on the stroke of half time to close
the gap; an opportunity he duly accepted to leave the side just three points
adrift at the break.

Northampton looked to increase the pressure early on in the second half, and
after a drive towards the line fell apart, the referee awarded a penalty try
with Myler gifted a simple conversion to take a 16-6 lead.

Worcester responded perfectly and Alex Grove poked a kick through which Lemi
latched onto to close the gap.

Tempers flared as the Warriors had looked to have got themselves back into
the game as Thomas was given a red card for punching Dickinson, who himself
was sent to the sin bin for pulling back James Percival.

After the maul was sacked by the Warriors, Betty saw himself sent to the sin
bin, leaving them down to 13 men.

The Saints took advantage of the chaotic state of play and the man advantage
and van Velze, with help from the driving pack, went over the line, with Myler
converting again to give the hosts a 12-point lead.

Worcester were handed a lifeline when Calum Clark was caught offside, Pennell
kicking his third penalty of game to leave them nine behind.

Northampton sealed the win after Ken Pisi broke through, and before the visitors
could regroup, van Velze scored his second of the game, with Myler kicking his
third conversion.

The Saints pushed for their fourth try after the 80th minute, but after intense
pressure the ball came loose and the bonus point was denied.

Final Score Northampton Saints 30 Worcester 14


Tries: Penalty try, Van Velze 2
Con: Myler 3
Pen: Myler 3

Try: Lemi

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