Match Centre: Wasps 17-22 Northampton Saints

Taqele Naiyaravoro was one of the try-scorer for Northampton Saints
Taqele Naiyaravoro was one of the try-scorer for Northampton Saints
©Steve Haag

Wasps 17-22 Northampton Saints, Ricoh Arena

A dominant first half performance from Northampton Saints saw them edge out Wasps 22-17 in the 8th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

The Saints scored all their 22 points in the opening half which proved just enough despite a second half revival from Wasps that saw them score 17 points.

The win has taken Northampton Saints to the fifth place in the table with 22 points while Wasps are at ninth place with 20 points.

Northampton had a late change with Fraser Dingwall ruled out due to illness and Tom Collins was drafted on to the bench. They were the first to get the points on the board after James Grayson kicked a penalty goal in the 12th minute following an infringement from Tim Cardall.

Wasps overturned three opportunities at penalties in a hope to score the opening try but in went in vain. Nevertheless, the Saints extended their lead in the 21st minute through Shaun Adendorff as he dived in the corner.

The home side suffered back to back set backs with two players sin-binned in a span of three minutes. First it was Kieran Brookes in the 24th minute who was yellow carded for clearing out a ruck and then it was James Gaskell, who was sent off temporarily in the 26th minute for tackling Lewis Ludlam from behind.

The Saints made full use of the numerical advantage as both Sam Matavesi and Taqele Naiyaravoro dotted down in the 27th and 31st minutes respectively. Grayson kicked both the conversions as the visitors scored 22 unanswered points in the opening half.

As Wasps returned to full strength, they showed better intent in the second half with Rob Miller and Matteo Minozzi exchanging passes before the fullback eventually went over the line and Jimmy Gopperth kicked the conversion to reduce their arrears to 15 points.

Wasps were presented with the opportunity when Naiyaravoro was yellow-carded for a high tackle in the 47th minute but the Saints did well not to concede a point in the next 10 minutes.

Replacement Jacob Umaga with a penalty kick in the start of the final quarter reduced the gap down to 12 points and they had a further boost when Piers Francis was yellow-carded for a deliberate offside and immediately Tommy Taylor dotted down. Umaga kicked the extras but they could not find any more breakthrough as the Saints completed a five-point victory.

Team line-up:

Wasps: Miller; Kibirige, Fekitoa, Gopperth, Minozzi; Atkinson, Wolstenholme; Harris, Cruse, Brookes, Cardall, Gaskell, Shields, Oghre, T Willis.

Reserves: Taylor, McIntyre, Toomaga-Allen, Vukasinovic, Morris, Vellacott, Umaga, Le Bourgeois.

Northampton: Freeman; Sleightholme, Hutchinson, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Mitchell; Waller, S Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Moon, Isiekwe, Ludlam, Adendorff.

Reserves: Haywood, Van Wyk, O Franks, Coles, Wood, James, Collins, Tuala.

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

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