Northampton book home Semi-final with Bath draw

Northampton Saints qualified for the Aviva Premiership Semi-finals when they drew 19-all with Bath at the Recreation Ground on Friday evening.

Stephen Myler kicked a late penalty to level the scores and secure the draw for Northampton Saints.

The result means that Saracens have also booked a home Aviva Premiership final.

The draw means that Bath would most likely play Saracens in the Semi-final
if they qualify which would make either George Ford or Owen Farrell available
for England’s first test against the All Blacks next month.

A bonus-point victory would have sealed a top-four place for Bath, but a resilient
Northampton defence meant that the hosts will have to wait an extra week to
find out if they will be partaking in the play-offs.

In an evenly-contested first half, neither side wanted to give anything away
to their opponents and after exchanging two penalties each, George Ford for
the hosts and Stephen Myler for the visitors, the teams went in level at half
time.

Bath started the second half well and went over through Ford before Jamie Elliott
responded with a try of his own for the visitors. As they did in the first half,
Ford and Myler traded two penalties each, with Northampton snatching the draw
in the last minute.

Myler gave the visitors an early lead after Bath conceded a penalty at the
scrum and the Saints had the better of the play for the first 20 minutes but
failed to capitalise beyond their initial three-pointer and were punished when
Ford kicked a penalty of his own from out wide after half an hour to level the
scores.

Northampton were not level for long though as Bath were penalised for holding
on and from a similar position to his missed kick two minutes earlier, Myler
restored their lead.

Bath turned the pressure up for the final few minutes of the first half and
were rewarded with another penalty which Ford duly converted to send the sides
in level at half time.

The hosts were quick out of the blocks in the second half and had a chance
to take the lead for the first time in the match with a penalty, but Ford’s
kick fell wide. He made up for his miss soon after though with a try after some
good work from Leroy Houston. The fly-half kicked the simple conversion to give
the hosts a 13-6 lead.

Despite Bath’s best efforts, they could not stop Saints going over after 50
minutes when Myler found Elliott who went over out wide, with Myler adding the
extras.

Northampton had momentum on their side but after conceding a penalty at the
scrum they again found themselves trailing by three and to make matters worse
they lost Courtney Lawes for ten minutes for tackling Anthony Watson off the
ball, but the Saints did level the scores again when Myler took advantage of
Bath being penalised at the scrum.

Ford had the chance to give Bath the lead with four minutes remaining on the
clock but his drop-goal attempt was a poor one and the scores remained level.

He did get a second chance to win the game though, after the referee pinged
Northampton for offside, and as he had been throughout most of the game, Ford
was successful with the kick.

Bath looked to have sealed the win, but when Anthony Perenise was sent to the
sin bin, Myler had a straightforward attempt to equalise once again.

The fly-half was successful with his kick, but more drama followed as the TMO
was called into action soon after when Lawes collided with Ford off the ball,
but the decision was rightly made that the forward had tried to pull out of
the tackle, and the points were shared.

Final Score Bath 19 (6) Northampton Saints 19 (6)

Scorers

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