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Saints down Scarlets to stay alive in Europe

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Article Published: Saturday 14 January 2012

Northampton Saints kept their chances of reaching at least the Challenge Cup play offs when they beat the Scarlets 17-29 in Pool 1 of the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

The Scarlets went into the contest with genuine ambitions of a place in the knockout stages of European rugby's premier tournament for the first time since 2007 when they reached the semi-finals.

ut it was last season's beaten finalists who shone, grabbing a vital away win to keep their hopes of progressing in either the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup alive.

Northampton's indiscipline cost them dearly in the opening exchanges when they lost wing Tom May to a yellow card after only two minutes for petulance and the Saints were down to 14-men.

Rhys Priestland and Steve Myler swapped penalties in a scrappy first half before the Tongan wing Viliame Iongi crossed for the home side's first try of the game after period of sustained pressure.

The Scarlets flyer latched onto a Priestland crosskick to give the Scarlets a 11 point lead before Myler landed a second penalty just before half-time to make it 14-6 to the Welsh side.

The Saints hit straight back after the break when prop Soane Tonga'uiha barged his way over from short-range to claw the Premiership outfit back to within a point of their hosts 14-13.

Myler and Priestland swapped penalties again, but Northampton's pressure on the home side gave them a 22-17 lead midway through the second half. The Scarlets threw the kitchen sink at the former champions in the dying moments of the game but couldn't breach Northampton's defence.

To add salt to the home side's wounds, they saw England full-back ran the length of the field for an interception try to seal an impressive rearguard action by last season's beaten finalists to clinch victory.

Final Score Scarlets (14) 17 Northampton (6) 29


Tries: Iongi
Pens: Priestland 4

Tries: Tonga'uiha, Foden
Cons: Myler, Lamb
Pens: Myler 5

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)


Scarlets: L Williams; G North, S Williams, J Davies, V Iongi; R Priestland, G Davies; I Thomas, M Rees [capt], D Manu, L Reed, D Day, A Shingler, R McCusker, B Morgan

Replacements: K Owens, P John, R Jones, J Turnbull, J Edwards, R Williams, S Jones, G Maule

Northampton Saints: B Foden; C Ashton, G Pisi, T May, V Artemyev; S Myler, M Roberts; S Tonga'uiha, D Hartley [capt], B Mujati, S Manoa, M Sorenson, C Clark, P Dowson, R Wilson

Replacements: M Haywood, A Waller, P Doran-Jones, C Day, B Nutley, L Dickson, R Lamb, S Armstrong

With thanks to ERCRugby.

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