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Author Archive for Richard Rae at Franklin's Gardens

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Wasps lay 10-year bogey to rest with stylish win at Northampton

• Northampton 11-24 Wasps
• George Smith captains as visitors dominate in difficult conditions

Having failed to win at Franklin’s Gardens for more than a decade, Wasps laid that bogey in style, producing a performance which, in miserably adverse conditions, demonstrated the depth as well as ability in the head coach Dai Youngs’ squad this season.

Both sides made a number of changes to the starting lineups which won their final group matches in the European Champions Cup last weekend, in so doing ensuring they became two of the record five Premiership clubs which will appear in the quarter-finals of the competition.

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Northampton Saints march on past dogged Harlequins

• Northampton 17-13 Harlequins
• Samu Manoa, James Wilson and Tom Wood with the Saints tries

After a third consecutive Premiership defeat, even the most optimistic Harlequins supporter would concede the Londoners’ chances of making the end of season play-offs are now all but extinguished.

While Conor O’Shea’s side have five games left to play, they remain 10 points adrift of the top four. Northampton continue to carry all before them at the top of the table but, despite being boosted by the return of England lock Courtney Lawes, Saints made heavy weather of beating Quins.

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Northampton’s Luther Burrell puts match beyond spirited Newcastle

• Northampton 39-31 Newcastle
• Falcons’ Tom Catterick conjures fightback against Saints

The Premiership leaders were duly made to work hard for this win, especially in the first 50 minutes of the match, at which point Ben Foden and Ken Pisi took advantage of loose tackling to put Calum Clark over and give Saints a 15-point lead. Thereafter the result was not really in doubt, but in the first half, and in the final 20 minutes, the visitors demonstrated the extent to which they are an improved side this season, especially with ball in hand.

After Northampton’s epic 14-man victory over Leicester, and equally sustained effort to beat Harlequins despite having only around 25% share of possession, their director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, will have spent part of the run-up to this game ensuring his players understood the importance of not falling off the pace against a side who arrived second from bottom of the table after losing four of their previous five league matches.

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Kahn Fotuali’i quenches Harlequins fire to take Northampton into final

Northampton 18-10 Harlequins Continue reading…