Match Centre: Champions Cup: Northampton Saints 22-19 Toulon

George Furbank scored two tries for Northampton
George Furbank scored two tries for Northampton
©Steve Haag

Northampton Saints 22-19 Toulon, cinch Stadium @ Franklin's Gardens

Tom Lockett scored the decisive try in the end as Northampton Saints edged out Toulon 22-19 in the second round of the Investec Champions Cup at cinch Stadium @ Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

The Saints now have two wins from as many games as they are at the top of Pool 3 while Toulon are languishing at the bottom after losing both their matches.

The French side opened the account in the 5th minute as fly-half Enzo Herve kicked a long-range penalty goal following a scrum offence but the Saints have responded almost immediately with George Hendy and George Furbank setting up Tom Seabrook over the line in the 6th minute for the opening try.

Smith played a pivotal role in the second try for the Saints as he defeated a couple of defenders before feeding Furbank, who crossed the whitewash around the half hour mark. Smith's conversion struck the post as the teams completed the home side completed the opening half with a 10-3 lead.

Jaminet missed a penalty goal in the 52nd minute but made amends two minutes later as Herve freed his arms in tackle to help the fullback touchdown but his effort was cancelled out as Tommy Freeman offloaded for Furbank's second try as the scoreline became 15-8 by the end of the third quarter.

The gap came down to four points in the 62nd minute with Herve kicking a 40m penalty goal and thee minutes later David Ribbans muscled his way over. Herve missed the conversion but a drop goal from Jaminet ensured Toulon had a 15-19 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

The final five minutes saw Toulon reduced to 13 players as Matteo Le Corvec and Jeremy Sinzelle were sin binned following a lengthy TMO check for a high tackle and deliberate knock and with the Saints having numerical advantage on their side as Mitchell sent a perfect pass for Lockett to dot down as the home side completed a thrilling win.

Team line up:

Northampton: Furbank (capt); Seabrook, Freeman, Litchfield, Hendy; Smith, Mitchell; Waller, Langdon, Davison, Mayanavanua, Moon, Lawes, Pearson, Graham.

Reserves: Matavesi, Haffar, Hill, Lockett, Augustus, James, Savala, Sleightholme.

Toulon: Jaminet; Fainga'anuku, Tuicuvu, Sinzelle, Villiere; Herve, White; Priso, Singleton, Brookes, Halagahu, Ribbans, Abadie, Ollivon, Tolofua.

Reserves: Tolofua, Gros, Setiano, Warion, Le Corvec, Danglot, Smaili, Wainiqolo.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table