Match Centre: Worcester Warriors 14-62 Northampton Saints

George Furbank scored the opening try for Northampton Saints
George Furbank scored the opening try for Northampton Saints
©Steve Haag

Worcester Warriors 14-62 Northampton Saints, Sixways

Ollie Sleightholme scored four tries as Northampton Saints trounced 14-man Worcester Warriors 62-14 in the 15th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Sixways.

The Saints now have moved to the fifth place in the table following their eighth win taking their tally to 41 points while Worcester are languishing at the bottom after losing their 12th game from 15 matches.

It took the Saints just four minutes to get the opening points on the board when Northampton found early gap in Worcester defence as George Furbank crossed over for an unconverted try.

The response from the Warriors came in the 19th minute when Chris Ashton scored his first try since his move to Worcester and 89th of his career after gathering a wide pass from Billy Searle. The fly-half also kicked the conversion as the home side took a 7-5 lead.

As the Saints had to deal with injuries to Hutchinson and Furbank, James Grayson with a penalty kick in the 26th minute put them in front once again. Warriors came close to scoring their second try when Ashton came close to scoring his second following a grubber kick from Searle but could not complete it.

As the break was approaching, Sleightholme went past Perry Humphreys and Searle to dot down and Grayson improved as the opening half ended with a 7-15 lead for the visitors.

The Saints were the quickest to get off the block in the second half with Alex Mitchell grabbed a kick from Tommy Freeman to touchdown and Grayson followed with the conversion making it 7-22. Their momentum took a further boost as the Warriors were reduced to 14 players for the final 30 minutes for an illegal tackle on Freeman.

Saints immediately capitalised on the numerical advantage as Sleightholme scored his second following a line out drive and in the 58th minute they lost Teimana Harrison to sin-bin. Despite the setback, Northampton got their fifth try when Piers Francis touched down after collecting a back offload from Freeman making the scoreline 7-34.

The 65th minute saw the home side reduced to 13-man with Francois Venter sin-binned that also resulted in a penalty try as Northampton took their lead to 7-41. With the momentum on their side, Northampton scored three more tries with David Ribbans (71) touched down followed by two more tries from Sleightholme that took their tally to 62 points before Chris Pennell scored a consolation try for the Warriors in the closing stage.

Team line-up:

Worcester: Pennell; Ashton, Lawrence, Beck, Humphreys; Searle, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Schonert, Kitchener, Clegg, Hill, Kvesic, Batley.

Reserves: Miller, Thomas, Van Dyk, Dodd, C Du Preez, Simpson, Smith, Venter

Northampton: Furbank; Collins, Hutchinson, Francis, Sleightholme; Grayson, Mitchell; Waller, S Matavesi, Painter, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Isiekwe, Wood, Harrison.

Reserves: Haywood, Auterac, Hill, Coles, Adendorff, James, Dingwall, Freeman.

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

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