Northampton increase Bath’s woes with bonus-point victory

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Mike Williams was sin-binned in the first half for Bath (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Archive)
Mike Williams was sin-binned in the first half for Bath (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Archive)

Bath’s miserable season continued as Northampton racked up a bonus-point 40-19 Gallagher Premiership win at Franklin’s Gardens.

It was a tough day from start to finish for the visitors, who lost lock Josh McNally in the warm-up and then saw both half-backs, Ben Spencer and Danny Cipriani forced off injured during the first half.

Mike Williams McNally’s replacement, was sin-binned for a high tackle during the first period as the Saints marched to four tries, two of which came from Juarno Augustus.

Rory Hutchinson and Tommy Freeman also scored before the break, while Bath responded through Sam Underhill and Lewis Boyce efforts.

The away side threatened early in the second half, forcing Sam Matavesi into the sin bin and scoring through Will Stuart.

But Saints came to life once again, and Courtnall Skosan’s double made the game safe for the Saints, consigning Bath to their ninth defeat in as many league matches this season.

The Saints had got off to a flying start, scoring from their first attack as a lovely move from left to right allowed Freeman to send Hutchinson in for the try.

Dan Biggar converted and Bath almost responded, but Spencer could not find the pass and the Saints escaped in an incredibly open start to the match.

Bath were struggling when Northampton had the ball in hand, and the hosts scored again after 12 minutes as Karl Wilkins, David Ribbans and Skosan all played key roles in a try for Freeman.

Biggar converted with ease, but Bath responded, earning a series of penalties that allowed them to kick to the corner, with a dominant lineout drive allowing Underhill to score.

Bath lost Spencer and Cipriani to injury in a nightmare half and Northampton took advantage as Fraser Dingwall did brilliantly to take the ball within range and offload to No.8 Augustus for his first Saints try.

Biggar converted and the home side were now just one try away from a bonus point.

Bath then lost Williams to the sin bin for a high tackle on Biggar as their problems mounted.

The Saints scored their fourth try before the break as Augustus went over, with Biggar converting again.

Bath did hit back before half-time as Boyce powered over to reduce the deficit.

And the visitors enjoyed the better of the early part of the second half, winning penalty after penalty and forcing Matavesi into the sin bin before Stuart powered over for a score.

Tom De Glanville’s conversion cut the gap to nine points, but Northampton responded as Dingwall sent Skosan in out wide.

And Skosan was trotting in for his second score 12 minutes from time as he gathered a tidy cross-field kick from George Furbank, who added the conversion.

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