Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints run in six tries to beat Bath
Last Updated: 28/12/13 6:00pm
George North dives over for Northampton's sixth try
Northampton battled back from a 13-0 deficit to beat Bath 43-25 in an entertaining Aviva Premiership clash at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.
Christian Day scored two tries for Saints, who ran in six in total on their way to a bonus-point win over their fellow top-four challengers.
George Pisi, Jamie Elliott, Samu Manoa and George North also crossed as Saints denied Bath their 12th consecutive win in all competitions.
The league's most accurate goalkicker Stephen Myler added 13 points to ensure Bath left without even a losing bonus point.
Bath raced into a 13-0 lead thanks to Kyle Eastmond's try and two penalties and a conversion for George Ford.
But the visitors' best record in a decade came crashing down as Northampton scored twice to turn the game when Bath prop Paul James was in the sin-bin.
Day's second score opened the second half in style for Saints before Bath rallied with a try for Rob Webber.
Manoa and Leroy Houston traded tries as Bath battled for a final-quarter turnaround, before North added the killer blow on the stroke of full-time.
But Bath had started the faster, their pack powering Northampton off the ball at the first scrum, and Ford slotted the penalty to end a run of five-straight missed shots at goal in the league.
Ken Pisi's weak clearance then gifted Bath both territory and a broken field.
Prop James drove into contact, Jonathan Joseph moved the ball wide to Anthony Watson and the full-back sent Eastmond home for the game's first try, with Ford adding the conversion.
North's commanding claim of a high ball galvanised the hosts to find a foothold in the game.
Two 22 penalties and as many mauls from Saints later, Bath prop James was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing one of those drives.
A man light, Bath had no chance of defending another five-metre maul, so it was an easy trot home for Saints lock Day and Myler added the conversion.
North exposed Bath's high-ball fragility once again, with Horacio Agulla penalised for taking out the airborne Wales wing.
Another penalty, another maul, and Saints were sniffing try blood once more.
Manoa fed North on the charge into the 22, Kahn Fotuali'i found Elliott with a pinpoint cross-field chip, and George Pisi finished in the right corner.
Myler's conversion wrestled Northampton's first lead in the contest, 14-13 just past the half-hour.
A penalty for obstruction allowed Saints more line-out field position, launching another high-octane attack, and even Bath's now full complement could not hold out.
Ken Pisi was unable to sneak into the left corner, but Saints stayed patient, recycled well and robbed Bath of cover on the right.
Myler's looping miss-pass capitalised on the overlap, Burrell fed George Pisi and he in turn sent Elliott into the corner unopposed.
There was to be no slow start for Saints after the break. Lock Day claimed his second score as Northampton found immediate fluency to secure the try bonus point, with Myler slotting the conversion for a 28-13 lead.
Hooker Webber capped a determined drive with a try for Bath just before the hour to enliven the contest once more.
But just four minutes later Saints' United States number eight Manoa powered over, cutting a smart inside line off Elliott on the short side.
That ought to have ended the argument, but still Bath gritted their teeth, and exploited their scrum dominance.
Bath's pack drove Saints off the ball from a five-metre set-piece, and replacement number eight Houston did the honours for the visitors' third score.
Northampton rallied once again though, just as they had every time Bath exerted pressure, and Myler slotted his first penalty of the day.
With Bath trying to force one last attack, Saints snaffled possession and North raced in to close a fine day for the home side.
Sat 16th May
Bath50 - 30Gloucester
Exeter44 - 16Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers22 - 14Northampton
London Irish40 - 40Wasps
London Welsh17 - 68Saracens
Newcastle Falcons37 - 21Harlequins
Sat 23rd May - Semi Final
Northampton0 - 0Saracens
Bath0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 11
Gloucester boss Nigel Davies admitted life with his team is "pretty stressful with this lot at present."
Gloucester secured their fourth win of the Premiership season after holding off a late fightback from London Irish.
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea welcomed a "very, very big win" over Exeter at Twickenham.