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PREVIEW: Saints and Warriors lay it on line

Thursday 14th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Distancé par le Racing 92

Distancé par le Racing 92

Knock-out rugby comes early at Franklin’s Gardens when Northampton and Glasgow put their Champions Cup hopes on the line.

Both teams know that only a win will keep them in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals behind Pool 3 leaders Racing-92.

It comes at the end of another roller-coaster week for Saints.

After trailing rivals Leicester Tigers 21-0 in the East Midlands derby, Saints produced a rousing fightback at Welford Road only to lose 30-27.

England and British Lions prop Alex Corbisero then announced his immediate departure from the Gardens before fellow front-row Paul Hill was among four Saints forwards named in England’s squad.

Now lock Victor Matfield has called on Saints to claim the first of two wins needed to reach the last eight of Europe.

Matfield said: “We probably need to win both of our next two games in the Champions Cup in order to reach the play-offs so this is going to be a big game against Glasgow. But these are the games and the occasions you play rugby for.

“We showed a lot of character to comeback against Leicester but there were things we also need to improve if we are going to get better.”

Glasgow can overtake Northampton if they can avenge their 26-15 loss at Scotstoun in Round 2.

They were dealt a blow when Mark Bennett joined fellow centre Peter Horne on the injury list in the defeat to Racing-92 last week. But Scotland international Alex Dunbar could make a timely return.

Head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Northampton have been outstanding in England for the past few years. They play a different game to Racing, it’s built around a strong set-piece that will try to win penalties at the scrum in order to get lineout drives, at which they are very good.

“Last season they scored 40-odd tries from that, when the next best in Europe was 30. So we know that’s their M.O.

“They have exciting players behind in Ben Foden, George and Ken Pisi, George North and Luther Burrell, but they use them only after the forwards have got them going forward.

“But we need to make sure we’re much more accurate when we get opportunities and we’re determined to do better than we did at Scotstoun.”
Match Facts

  • Northampton Saints have won five of their seven matches against Glasgow in the Champions Cup, including a 26-15 win earlier in this campaign.
  • Northampton Saints have won 10 of their last 11 matches against Scottish opposition, their only loss coming against Glasgow in their second to last such fixture (2013).
  • Glasgow Warriors have never beaten Saints on the road and have never finished within a losing bonus point in those three fixtures.
  • Saints drew their last home game (Racing 92), the last time they went two games at home without a win in this competition was back in 2000.

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REPORT: Mallinder grabs debut try and glory

Sunday 17th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Northampton peut encore croire en la possibilité du'n quart grâce à sa victoire arrachée dans les derniers instants face à Glasgow (15-13)

Northampton peut encore croire en la possibilité du'n quart grâce à sa victoire arrachée dans les derniers instants face à Glasgow (15-13)

Harry Mallinder turned into a baby face assassin on his Champions Cup debut as he gave his director of rugby, and Dad, Jim plenty to smile about with a match-winning try in the last play of the game.

Mallinder junior came on in the 26th minute to replace Tom Collins, who was injured in a collision with Stuart Hogg’s knee, and slotted in superbly at full back. And when his big moment came, he grabbed it to earn the Heineken Man of the Match award.

Finn Russell had kicked four penalties to keep Glasgow Warriors in touch after Saints had picked up two tries from their irresistible driving line-out through Teimana Harrison and Christian Day and then Hogg’s booming right boot gave the visitors the lead at 15-12 with 10 minutes to go.

The game seemed well within the Warriors’ grasp until replacement back row man Tim Swinson was caught delivering a left upper cut into the face of Saints replacement hooker Mikey Haywood five minutes from time. He saw yellow and the home sent went on the offensive.

A penalty allowed Steve Myler to kick into the corner for a final shot at a third line-out try, but instead the replacement outside half kicked cross field to North. It was the 6ft 5in tall Welshman against 6ft Russell and the home wing’s tap down went straight into the hands of the supporting Mallinder who crossed wide out on the left.

Myler stepped up to land the conversion and victory had been grabbed from the jaws of defeat. Now the Saints can go to the Scarlets in round six with a chance of getting into the quarter-finals as one of the three best runners-up in their pool.

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