Heineken Cup: Northampton 24-15 Glasgow Warriors

Northampton (12) 24

  • Tries: G Pisi (2), Myler, Artemyev
  • Cons: Myler, Lamb

Glasgow (15) 15

  • Tries: Strauss, Lamont
  • Cons: Horne
  • Pens: Horne

Premiership leaders Northampton Saints started their Heineken Cup campaign with a stirring fightback against Glasgow Warriors at Franklin's Gardens.

Glasgow, still to earn an away victory against an English side, led 15-0 after Josh Strauss and Sean Lamont scored tries in a dominant opening half hour.

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We were disappointed in the end to not get a losing bonus. It was very frustrating

Gregor Townsend Glasgow head coach

But Saints hit back before half-time through George Pisi's brace of tries.

Stephen Myler and Vasily Artemyev clinched a bonus-point win with further home tries after the break.

Saints boss Jim Mallinder had stressed the importance of his team starting their European campaign with a home win if they are to progress from a well-matched Pool Four which also includes last year's beaten finalists Ulster and Castres.

But the beaten 2011 finalists were left shell-shocked by Glasgow's early dominance before finally upping the tempo and eventually overpowering the tiring visitors in the second half.

Pro 12 side Glasgow, who were aiming for their fifth successive win, were intent on testing a Saints defence - which leaked 39 points in a shock defeat at London Irish last weekend - from the first whistle.

But they were gifted a 3-0 lead when Saints prop Soane Tonga'uiha was adjudged to have collapsed a Glasgow scrum in front of the home posts, allowing Peter Horne to convert the resulting penalty.

Northampton struggled to cope as the inventive Warriors mixed powerful forwards' drives with incisive diagonal running from their backs.

Strauss crashed over the line for Glasgow's opening try after a quick off-load from captain Al Kellock, before Lamont barged past three Saints defenders to extend their advantage.

Analysis

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra summariser Paul Diggin:

"It's a little bit of a shame for Glasgow after how well they played in the first half.

"They were world beaters for 36 minutes then collapsed for four minutes at the end of the first half. Then they started the second half badly.

"But Saints got stronger and were just about worth their win."

Northampton looked stunned by Glasgow's dominance, but managed to swing the momentum back in a pivotal four-minute spell before half-time.

Pisi dived over after fortunately seeing the ball bounce back into his hands off a Glasgow defender following a failed attempt to pick out team-mate Artemyev.

And moments later Ken Pisi rapidly accelerated through the Glasgow defence to tee up brother George for his second try.

Myler, who converted just one of his five kicking attempts, put Saints ahead for the first time five minutes into the second half and it was a lead they refused to relinquish.

Glasgow battled gallantly in search of a way back, but their efforts proved in vain as Artemyev finished a sweeping cross-field move inside the final 10 minutes to clinch the bonus point.

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder:

"It could have gone a different way, and what you cannot do is underestimate sides in the Heineken Cup. We didn't do that - Glasgow are a quality team.

"They have a big heavy pack with a back-row that gets around the field and backs that can take their chances.

"We were under a bit of pressure, but what was pleasing was the way we came back and kept our composure. In the second half, we controlled the game.

"I think we are in decent shape. When we are on top of our game we are a hard side to beat, and we need to keep at that intensity every single week."

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend:

"We are disappointed to come away with nothing. We played very well for 30 minutes, then let them back into the game.

"And we were disappointed in the end to not get a losing bonus. It was very frustrating.

"The two tries at the end of the first half got them back into the game. I felt we could have been further ahead, but it looked like a momentum shift when they scored those tries."

LINE-UPS

Northampton: Wilson, K. Pisi, G. Pisi, Waldouck, Artemyev, Myler, Dickson, Tonga'uiha, Hartley, Mujati, Manoa, Lawes, Dowson, Wood, Oakley.

Replacements: Lamb for Wilson (57), May for G. Pisi (71), Roberts for Dickson (73), Waller for Tonga'uiha (71), Haywood for Hartley (78), Doran-Jones for Mujati (66), Sorenson for Manoa (63).

Not Used: van Velze.

Glasgow: Hogg, Seymour, Dunbar, Horne, S. Lamont, Jackson, Pyrgos, Grant, Hall, Cusack, Swinson, Kellock, Strauss, Barclay, Wilson.

Replacements: Murchie for Hogg (10), Gillies for S. Lamont (66), Matawalu for Jackson (40), Fainga'anuku for Grant (71), Ryder for Swinson (52), Eddie for Strauss (63), Fusaro for Barclay (57).

Not Used: Reid.

Att: 12,115

Ref: Romain Poite (France).