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Northampton aim to stretch winning run

Friday 10th January 2020

11:05 am (GMT)

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Northampton aim to stretch winning run

Northampton Saints fly-half Dan Biggar on the attack against Leinster Rugby

Northampton Saints, second in Heineken Champions Cup Pool 1, will look to keep their hopes of quarter-final qualification alive on Sunday by extending their 100% record against Benetton Rugby in the competition.

The English club have won all five of their meetings with Benetton in Europe’s elite club tournament.

Key facts

  • Northampton have won all 10 of their matches against Italian opposition in European competition, averaging 39 points per game.
  • Northampton boast the best ruck success rate in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup of 98%.
  • Benetton will be trying for their first back-to-back victories in the tournament since 2004/05.

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Northampton survive massive scare to overcome plucky Benetton

Sunday 12th January 2020

4:14 pm (GMT)

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Northampton survive massive scare to overcome plucky Benetton

Harry Mallinder charges over for Northampton's opening try / Getty

Northampton Saints survived a tremendous Benetton effort to stay on course for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup with a 33-20 success at Franklin’s Gardens.

But the scoreline does not tell the full story as the Italian side led 20-19 with 15 minutes remaining before the Saints extra power eventually told.

The decisive score came with just eight minutes remaining when Saints’ centre Fraser Dingwall charged through for the bonus point try from Henry Taylor’s pass.

Northampton then put the icing on the cake as replacement Andy Symons showed his power to score under the posts.

The home side had enjoyed the perfect start when Harry Mallinder celebrated his return to action after a 15-month injury absence with the first try after only six minutes.

A perfectly worked move from the scrum created the overlap on the right flank and Mallinder was in position to dart over wide out.

But the Saints failed to build on their territorial advantage and were denied a second try when Olly Sleightholme went in wide out but James Grayson’s looping pass to the winger was ruled forward.

Benetton had hardly landed a blow up to this point apart from Tomasso Allan’s penalty but they rocked the home side six minutes from the break when centre Tommaso Benvenuti intercepted Francois van Wyk’s pass on half-way on race over to give Benetton a 10-5 interval lead.

Hooker Hame Faiva increased the pressure on Northampton when he rampaged over from a line-out maul but Northampton, who also had tries from Henry Taylor and van Wyk and 12 points from the boot of James Grayson, were not to be denied.

Northampton complete their Pool 1 campaign at at Lyon next Saturday while Benetton host top of the table Leinster on the same day.

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