I’ve been writing match reports on rugby union (Northampton Saints mainly) since about September. How that is five months already I don’t know but I’d like you to take a read of my latest instalment and tell me what you think.
Please be kind with your criticism but I’d most definitely like it to be constructive. Tell me what you like and what could be improved upon. That is if you don’t mind? It’s not like I’m demanding or anything.
Fans’ support needed as Saints loss sees the top four move further away
Saturday 9th February 2013
A home loss for Northampton Saints has resulted in a slide down the table to sixth. Gloucester full back Rob Cook achieved a tally of 17 points with winger Jonny May scoring two tries, one either side of the break.
Stephen Myler contributed six of Saints’ points, made up by a try from Captain Phil Dowson in the second half. But the post match analysis will concentrate on why there was only one successful trip over the whitewash for Northampton.
A knock on earned Saints a scrum within inches of the Gloucester twenty two and in turn gave Myler a kick at goal and the first points of the game after four minutes of play.
Moments later referee Martin Fox saw an apparent failure from Saints to roll away and a kick from Rob Cook equalised for the visitors, his first of five.
It was not long before the full back’s less than orthodox method of putting boot to ball added another three points to the put Gloucester ahead, answering jibes about the style.
By the end of the first quarter visitor May steamed over the whitewash offering the game its first try to make the score 3-11.
After a slow, kicking start by both sides, Gloucester were picking up momentum to make the better impression. Despite the pressure, Saints held their own in the scrum to provide Myler with another successful penalty.
But problems soon became apparent as ill discipline gave Cook two further penalties in as many minutes.
Unfortunately that was only the start of Northampton’s problems as Cook took Gloucester striding towards the try line where GJ Van Velze was sin binned for the second time this year.
With half time fast approaching the home pack which was a man down in the scrum and on its own 5 meter line, fought valiantly to prevent the points differences from increasing. Tensions began to show as the scrum was reset for the fourth time.
If the Gardens had a roof, it would’ve been raised with the uplifting cheer of the home crowd and eventually Saints were awarded the ball, putting it into touch for half time. The sigh of relief from supporters was almost audible.
On returning from the break, May dashed Saints’ hopes of a resurrection as he scooped up a missed pass and belted it down the flank. His acceleration proved too much for the men in green, black and gold as he touched down between the posts. Cook collected a conversion and the view of the Holy men’s support began to look very bleak indeed.
In a turn of events Van Velze returned from the bench and Gloucester took their turn to lose a player. Try scorer May was given 10 minutes in the bin for coming in at the side of a very threatening Saints maul.
The next play saw Saints rumble over the line but alas, in all too hap hazard a manner. No one really had any control over the ball and it was knocked on to give a Gloucester scrum.
A striding break from Lee Dickson put Saints well within opposition territory. The ball was lost but it was only moments later that a lineout, the result of a penalty kicked to the corner by Myler, helped Dowson slice past the defensive line to get his try.
Myler’s coversion kick was interrupted by referee Fox who gave Samu Manoa a yellow card for a punch. This appeared to impede Myler’s shot as it drifted left, missing out on two valuable points.
Form then on in it seemed as though Saints were masters of their own disaster. Confidence was in short supply and simple mistakes crept in. Real signs of encouragement shone through but for every scoring opportunity, there was a poor decision made.
At several points the ball went to the player greeting with an effective Gloucester tackle which would’ve been understandable had their not been the possibility of shipping the ball out to the backs for a run.
Saints fate was sealed before Cook was gifted another penalty and a mass departure of home support signaled a Gloucester win 27-11.
Flanker Ben Nutley spoke of how important it is for Saints fans to remain behind the players and coaches “You always want to hear the sixteenth man. They (fans) are crucial. When they get behind you, you do get that buzz”.
“Mistakes do happen, only we can change that and be more accurate and do as many hours on the training field.”
If you want to get behind the Saints for next week’s all important away match to Worcester, please call the ticket sales team on 01604 581000.
What do you think?