Northampton Saints face nervous wait

George North breaks through the defence of his former team

Northampton Saints earned a 10-22 bonus point European Rugby Champions Cup bonus point victory over Scarlets at Parc y Scarlet but will have to wait and see if they qualify or the play offs.

Northampton needed maximum points from the match which they achieved as they scored four tries and won the match.

Former Scarlet George North crossed for the Saints fourth try that wrapped up a vital bonus point win and kept alive their hopes of progressing as runners-up.

Man of the match Harry Mallinder, George Pisi and Sam Dickinson had all crossed earlier on at Parc Y Scarlets.

Now Saints must hope that results go their way on the final day of the pool stage. Scarlets grabbed a late consolation through prop Rhodri Jones but that was not enough to prevent a whitewash for only the third time in 21 years of European competition.

Scarlets side desperate to prove a point after their record loss at Racing last week and there was no doubting their desire with a heavy tackle that forced off Northampton flanker Jamie Gibson after just six minutes.

But Saints were gifted an easy opener by Scarlets when Morgan Allen’s pass was picked off by Mallinder and the centre stepped on the gas to grab his second try in successive weeks.

Saints knew they would likely need a bonus-point win after watching Toulon beat Bath before kick-off. And they were half-way there after 21 minutes when Pisi squeezed over for their second try.

Alex Waller made the initial burst and though Tom Kessell’s long pass went to ground, Pisi scooped up possession off the wet turf and stretched out of Tom Williams’ tackle to score.

Aled Thomas clawed back three points while Aaron Shingler’s turnover snuffed out a promising Northampton attack to limit Saints’ lead to 12-3 at the break. Sam Dickinson finished a trademark lineout drive before North raced onto Mallinder’s flat pass amid appeals from Scarlets for a forward pass.

Lee Dickson was binned for a cynical infringement as Scarlets rallied though 14-man Saints held out until Wales prop Rhodri Jones squeezed over in the final minute.

Final Score Scarlets 10 (3) Northampton Saints 22 (12)

Scorers

Scarlets
Tries – Jones
Pen – Thomas
Con – Thomas
Drop –

Northampton Saints
Tries – Mallinder, G Pisi, Dickinson, North
Pen –
Con – Myler
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France),
Assistant ref: Maxime Chalon (France),
Assistant ref: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France),
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau (France),
Citing Commissioner: Yves Thieffine (France)

Teams 

Scarlets: Mike Collins; Tom Williams, Regan King, Steven Shingler, DTH van der Merwe; Aled Thomas, Gareth Davies; Phil John, Ken Owens (c), Samson Lee, Tom Price, Maselino Paulino, Aaron Shingler, Will Boyde, Morgan Allen

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Dylan Evans, Rhodri Jones, Lewis Rawlins, Tom Phillips, Aled Davies, Josh Lewis, Steff Hughes

Northampton Saints: Ben Foden; Jamie Elliott, George Pisi, Harry Mallinder, George North; Steve Myler, Tom Kessell; Alex Waller, Dylan Hartley (c), Paul Hill, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Jamie Gibson, Tom Wood, Sam Dickinson

Replacements: Mikey Haywood, Ethan Waller, Gareth Denman, Michael Paterson, Jonathan Fisher, Lee Dickson, JJ Hanrahan, Luther Burrell

With thanks to EPCRugby

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