Premiership: Northampton Saints 31-24 Bath
|Northampton Saints (17) 31|
|Tries: Penalty try, Clark, Day, G Pisi|
|Pen: Myler Cons: Myler 4|
|Bath (10) 24|
|Tries: Wilson, Woodburn, Auterac|
|Pen: Ford Cons: Ford 3|
Northampton extended their Premiership dominance over Bath to seven wins with a tense victory at Franklin's Gardens.
Bath were a man and a penalty try down early on after Luke Arscott's yellow card, with Calum Clark's try and a Stephen Myler penalty putting Saints 17-10 up at the break.
George Ford converted a Dave Wilson try and added a penalty for Bath.
Christian Day and George Pisi tries put Saints in control before Olly Woodburn and Nick Auterac hit back for Bath.
Northampton hung on for victory, with the television match official denying the visitors a fourth try two minutes from time, Saints captain Dylan Hartley appearing to get his body in the way as Bath looked to ground a potential leveller.
|Saints v Bath|
|Bath's last Premiership triumph against Northampton came in February 2011.|
It was Bath's first defeat of the season and came a week after they thrashed Leicester Tigers 45-0.
Ben Foden helped create Northampton's first score, bursting clear with an impressive run.
The ball was eventually worked wide, where Arscott intervened to deliberately knock the ball down from an offside position to concede the penalty try as Kahn Fotuali'i looked to put Myler through.
Saints took advantage while Arscott was in the sin bin, with Pisi stumbling through a number of attempted tackles before the play was shifted left to Clark, who crossed unchallenged.
Prop Wilson hit back for Bath on 20 minutes, getting on the end of a Ford pass to power his way over the line.
Ford added the extras and then traded penalties with Myler, who kicked three from four to put Northampton seven points up at the interval.
Foden put Day over for the hosts' third try inside five minutes of the restart, with the lock bouncing off a tackle and over the line.
Pisi showed great strength to secure Northampton's bonus point and finish off a flowing move, originating with Foden, going through Luther Burrell and then on to his fellow centre. Myler added his fourth conversion to make it 31-10.
Some poor defending and a neat pass from Gavin Henson found Woodburn to spark Bath's revival, with Auterac coming off the bench to also touch down as Ford added both conversions to give the visitors hope.
But Bath could not force a draw, with some frantic defending by the champions proving enough to secure their third win of the season.
Northampton director or rugby Jim Mallinder:
"When you score four tries against Bath, that is good going. We were probably fortunate in the end that Dylan Hartley got under that last maul.
"We worked our way into a good lead, then we probably switched off a little bit. We defended as individuals and a team like Bath are going to take those opportunities.
"Dylan was key at the end. I thought overall he had a really good game. His set-piece play was very good."
Bath head coach Mike Ford:
"It was a very tough first half. We had Luke Arscott sin-binned early on and they got 14 points, which was a tough place to come back from.
"We dominated the last 25 minutes. We were over the line at the end, but it was our fault. We should have put the ball down earlier.
"Once we got into the game, we looked dangerous. We are getting there and the last 25 minutes showed what a good side we are going to be."
Northampton Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Fotuali'i; Corbisiero, Hartley (capt), Ma'afu; Craig, Day; Clark, Fisher, Manoa.
Replacements: McMillan, A Waller, Denman, Harrison, Dowson, Dickson, Hooley, Wilson.
Bath: Arscott; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Woodburn; Ford, Cook; James, Webber, Wilson; Hooper (capt), Attwood; Fa'osiliva, Mercer, Houston.
Replacements: Dunn, Auterac, Thomas, Day, Ewels, Stringer, Henson, Devoto.
Sin bin: Arscott (8).
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)