Northampton Saints reach Champions Cup play-off final with 21-15 win over Connacht

Harry Mallinder scored 16 points for Northampton Saints
Harry Mallinder scored 16 points for Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints 21-15 Connacht, Franklin's Gardens

Northampton Saints have managed to keep their hopes alive of a possible European Champions Cup berth next year after they defeated Connacht 21-15 in the qualification play-off at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

They will now lock horns with Stade Francais in the final on 26th May with the winner joining the top tier European competition.

Harry Mallinder opened Northampton's account in the very first minute with a converted try but the scores were levelled 7-7 after Connacht responded with a try of their own through Niyi Adeolokun while Craig Ronaldson added the extra.

Mallinder, who had a good first half kicked two more penalties to claim a six point lead for the home side but Ronaldson's 28th minute three-pointer reduced the gap between the two teams to three points at half time.

Nic Groom provided further advantage to Northampton with his 56th minute touchdown as they increased the lead to eight points but his efforts was negated by a cross over from Dave Heffernan in the 61st minute.

Northampton Saints had a slender lead of three points heading into the final 10 minutes, but Mallinder's third penalty kick provided some breathing space for the the Aviva Premiership side as they managed to overcome a 77th minute sin-bin to Jamie Gibson and completed a six point victory.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table