Bristol punish 11-men Northampton Saints with 24-26 win

Ian Madigan kicked the decisive conversion in the end
Ian Madigan kicked the decisive conversion in the end
©PA

Northampton Saints 24-26 Bristol Rugby, Franklin's Gardens
Scorecard

Piers O'Conor scored the decisive try in the closing stage with Ian Madigan converting it as Bristol Rugby completed a 24-26 win over an 11-men Northampton Saints in their Gallagher Premiership clash at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

The win means Bristol are at ninth place with 35 points - just four points behind the fifth-placed Sale Sharks - while Northampton Saints are at seventh place with 37 points. This is also Bristol's first win over Northampton Saints since 2008 and just their second win at Franklin's Gardens since 2001.

Bristol got off to a promising start as an offload from Chris Vui found Joe Batley as he crossed over in the fourth minute and by the 16th minute they got their second try with Jordan Crane dotting down. This time Luke Daniels added the conversion as the visitors took a 0-12 lead.

Bristol had a chance to increase their tally to 15 but Daniels missed a long-range penalty kick before the hosts finally managed a breakthrough with Taqele Naiyaravoro crossing whitewash. The momentum shifted towards the hosts as Bristol lost Charles Piutauto injury as the teams went into the break with a 5-12 scoreline.

Northampton Saints stepped up the gears with Ahsee Tuala and George Furbank scoring tries in the early second half as they had a 15-12 lead before Harry Randall helped Bristol gain back control with a 54th minute try.

The momentum once again swung towards the home side as they went on to claim the try bonus point with Cobus Reinach crossing the whitewash that made the scoreline 24-19. While Bristol had their moment when they scored via a driving maul but was denied by the TMO.

However, Northampton went to surrender the game with Cobus Reinach, Jamie Gibson, Tom Wood and Alex Waller all sin-binned at the closing stage allowing Piers O'Conor to score the decisive final try before Madigan improved it to complete a 24-26 win.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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