Catt gets Exiles purring
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 26/11/06 5:33pm
Former England international Mike Catt showed he still has plenty to offer with a man-of-the-match performance as London Irish thrashed Northampton Saints 40-5.
The Exiles have endured a frustrating campaign after last season's top-four finish, starting Sunday's encounter second-from-bottom in the Premiership.
However, their plight looks far healthier after a rousing bonus-point win that saw Catt inspire a five-try display at the Madejski Stadium.
The World Cup-winner claimed one of the touchdowns, with Delon Armitage, Justin Bishop, Paul Hodgson and Topsy Ojo all going over.
Northampton's sole response came through half-back Mark Robinson, but it was a brief moment of joy in a one-sided autum contest.
Irish were ahead from the second minute onwards, and it was Catt who was chief creator.
The 35-year-old quickened the pace with a well-judged kick to the right touchline, where Bishop slipped the ball inside for the unchallenged Armitage.
Moments later, Saints were their own worst enemies as they gifted Irish a second try, Dylan Hartley throwing long at the line-out, which resulted in the penalty from which Hodgson darted over.
Once again, Northampton will have been rueing their own profligacy as Bishop extended the Exiles' try count, wasting a 15-minute spell of pressure with a wayward pass that saw the hosts score on the counter.
Six minutes after the break, Catt continued to display his talents with a composed drop-goal for 25-0, and it was he who delivered the try that secured the bonus point.
Creating something out of nothing, Catt chipped ahead and then won the chase for the ball for Irish's fourth try.
Robinson's Saints reply arrived late on in the left corner, but Ojo ensured the Exiles had the last laugh, leaving Northampton looking precariously over their shoulders at bottom club Worcester.