Match Centre: Champions Cup: Northampton 61-14 Bayonne

Alex Waller scored two tries for Northampton Saints
Alex Waller scored two tries for Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints 61-14 Bayonne, cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens

Northampton Saints have qualified for the knock out stage of the Investec Champions Cup as they defeated Bayonne 61-14 in the latest round at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

With three wins from as many games, the Saints now are at the top of Pool 3 while Bayonne are at fifth place and now will be hoping to beat Exeter Chiefs next weekend.

The Saints made a promising start to the game as Rory Hutchinson sent a perfect crossfield kick for Tommy Freeman to touchdown in the opening minute and 12 minutes later Alex Coles sent a perfect well timed pass for Tom Pearson to complete his try.

Fin Smith, who will be pressing for selection in England's Six Nations squad with George Ford injured and Owen Farrell unavailable kicked both the conversions to make it 14-0.

The visitors were down to 14 players temporarily with Tevita Tatafu sin-binned in the 14th minute for a tip tackle on Sam Graham and the Saints made full use of the numerical advantage with Hutchinson feeding Pearson as he completed his second try and Courtney Lawes followed the suit in the 26th minute. Once again Smith kicked both the conversions to perfection as the Saints extended the lead to 28-0.

There was no respite whatsoever for Bayonne as Curtis Langdon dotted down at the back of a rolling maul and in the 38th minute Alex Waller celebrated his 368th Saints appearance with their sixth try and Smith's pin point conversions meant the home side completed the opening half with a 42-0 lead.

Any chance of a comeback for Bayonne was put off with Pearson and Waller scoring tries in the first 10 minutes in the second half as the Saints extended their tally past the 50 point mark. The start of the final quarter saw Tom Spring and Tom James exchange tries as the score line became 61-7 leading into the final 10 minutes.

Aurelien Callandret scored a consolation try for Bayonne in the end but the Saints went on to complete a dominating victory to qualify to the next round.

Team line up:

Northampton Saints: Furbank (capt); Freeman, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Sleightholme; Smith, Mitchell; Waller, Langdon, Davison, Mayanavanua, Coles, Lawes, Pearson, Graham.

Reserves: Matavesi, Iyogun, Millar-Mills, Moon, Augustus, Scott-Young, James, Litchfield.

Bayonne: Callandret; Megdoud, Tiberghien, Buliruarua, Baget; Dolhagaray, Machenaud; Cormenier, Bosch, Tatafu, Marchois (capt), Leindekar, Bourdeau, Heguy, Bruni.

Reserves: Giudicelli, Perchaud, Cotet, Paulos, Cassiem, Labarbe, Spring, Lestrade.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table