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Saints keep Leinster in their sights as Ospreys slump to second defeat

Edinburgh could not follow up their win over Munster after succumbing to a sublime Perpignan in France.

George North of Northampton is tackled by Ospreys' Jeff Hassler.
George North of Northampton is tackled by Ospreys' Jeff Hassler.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS SET themselves up for their December jousts with Leinster by effectively ending Ospreys Heineken Cup hopes.

Saints ran in three tries in a 27 — 16 win over the Welsh side at Franklins Gardens. Having slipped up away to Castres last weekend, the Premiership side could not afford to fall again. Ben Foden ran in try number three on 57 minutes but Northampton could not force the issue and get the bonus point.

Ospreys relied on Dan Biggar’s boot to stay in touch after a testing first half. They were thankful for the outhalf’s strength in the tackle as he rode a defensive gauntlet to score under the posts on 45 minutes. Foden’s try was the perfect response and Ospreys sit bottom of Pool 1 after two games.

The power of the Saints pack was the story of the game. With just seven men in the scrum — Dylan Hartley was off receiving treatment for a cut — Saints shunted the Welsh side backwards and Samu Manoa had the simple task of picking from the back to touch down. Christian Day scored the second try for the hosts as he finished off a linebreak from teammate Luther Burrell.

Saints now sit three points back from Leinster and welcome them to Franklins Garden on 7 December.

imageJames Hook kicked 11 points in Perpignan’s 31 — 14 win over Edinburgh. David Davies/PA Wire.

Edinburgh could not keep up the momentum of their home win against Munster last weekend as they surrended to a sublime Perpignan at Stade Aimé Giral.

Try merchant Tim Visser finished off a fine team move to give the Scots a 7 — 3 lead after an early James Hook penalty. Perpignan lost Guilhem Guirado and Richard Haughton to injury and trailed at the break but came out firing to streak clear in the second half.

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Fullback Joffrey Michel dotted down on 43 minutes and Wandile Mjekevu crossed for a 47th minute score. Flanker Justin Purll added the third, after an intense spell of home pressure, in the last quarter, and Mjekevu’s second clinched the try-scoring bonus point.

Cornell Du Preez got a consolation try for Edinburgh but they now lie third in Pool 6 ahead of back-to-back ties with Gloucester. Perpignan lead a tight pool by one point from Munster, who they next meet in December.

65 and counting

Harlequins went to Stade Marcel Michelin hoping to end Clermont’s dominant home form but were forced to go for a last-minute drop goal, through Nick Evans, to leave with a losing bonus point.

Clermont led 20 — 6 after Lee Byrne and Wesley Fofana tries but Quins showed some fight to stay in touch on the scoreboard and get their second point of the campaign. The match finished 23 — 16 to last season’s losing finalists.

Glasgow Warriors made up for the disappointment of shipping six tries against Toulon last week by beating Exeter at Scotstoun. Tim Swinson and Tyrone Holmes got the Warriors tries in a 20 — 16 home win.

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Patrick McCarry

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