Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints ride dominant pack to end Wasps' unbeaten home record
Last Updated: 30/03/13 8:08am
Stephen Myler converted a late try to give Northampton Saints a 26-24 victory over Wasps at Adams Park.
Northampton's rolling maul was responsible for all four of their tries, three in the first half before Christian Day crashed over for the clincher in the final minute.
Day's try brought the scores level at 24-24 and Myler slotted the conversion from in front of the posts to seal Saints' fourth straight win in the Aviva Premiership.
Wasps scored a try in each half through Tom Varndell and Elliot Daly but lost three players to the sin-bin during the contest as referee David Rose took a dim view of their defensive techniques.
The result is the Londoners' first defeat at Adams Park in the league this season and sees them fall seven points outside of the play-off places.
The tone was set when Northampton were awarded a penalty try in the seventh minute. Wasps suffered a double punishment as hooker T.Rhys Thomas was sent to the sin-bin for pulling a catch-and-drive lineout to the floor.
Daly got Wasps on the board with long-range penalty but Northampton were in again in similar fashion in the 16th minute, this time scrum-half Lee Dickson going over in the left corner with Wasps careful not to infringe.
Wasps hit back with a superb try from wing Varndell, who sprinted away from three defenders down the left sideline after No.8 Billy Vunipola had stepped through a tackle and sent a long pass out wide.
Jones quickly followed his conversion with a penalty to edge Wasps 13-12 in front but it did not last long as Saints once again exploited their Achilles heel. Tom Palmer, returning from a three-month injury lay-off, became the second Wasps forward to be shown a yellow card for pulling down a maul and, from the subsequent lineout move, Dylan Hartly forced his way over for Northampton's third try.
Myler added the conversion but Jones responded with his second penalty on the stroke of half-time to take Wasps into the break trailing only 19-16.
Wasps stood firm in defence at the start of the second half and, following the introduction of England internationals Joe Launchbury and James Haskell from the bench, made their move.
Following 12 phases of possession, Jones brought the scores level with his third penalty; swiftly followed by Daly handing off Ben Foden to score Wasps' second try in the left corner on 60 minutes.
Jones missed the conversion before making way for Nicky Robinson with Wasps leading 24-19 and the home side remained resolute in defence until Ashley Johnson was sent to the sin-bin for the final seven minutes, yet again for pulling down a maul.
And the pressure told in the final minute as Day's converted try earned the win and a bonus point for Northampton, who move up to third in the table - although Leicester can go back above them if they prevail in Saturday's late kick-off against Exeter.
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 18
London Irish and Sale Sharks both took a major step towards Aviva Premiership survival after sharing a 33-33 draw.
Gloucester have made five changes to their side for Friday's clash with defending champions Harlequins.
We look back at some of the highlights from the weekend's action in Premiership.
- McCall salutes England stars
- Sarries charge over Quins
- Narrow loss frustrates Young
- Tigers hunt down Chiefs
- Jones rouses beaten Welsh
- Irish pack delights Smith
- Irish ease relegation fears
- Burns too hot for Welsh
- Diamond praises tough Sharks
- Sale boost survival hopes
- Wasps v Northampton: Teams
- London Irish v Worcester:Teams
- Gloucester v L Welsh: Teams
- Exeter v Leicester: Teams
- Saracens v Harlequins: Teams
- Sale v Bath: Teams