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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Northampton Saints ease into quarters with win over Edinburgh

Northampton Saints ease into quarters with win over Edinburgh

Northampton Saints secured top spot in Pool One of the Heineken Cup as they scored five tries to beat Edinburgh 37-0 at Franklins Gardens on Friday night. The home side bounced back from successive Premiership defeats to overwhelm the visitors.

Saints became the first side to secure a quarter-final place after the convincing win, which was helped in large part by some good finishing from nuggety left wing Paul Diggin, who scored four well taken tries.

"He's not the fastest in the league but he gets in some very good positions and understands the game, he played very well," said coach Jim Mallinder.

"We are delighted to be in the quarter-finals, it's a great step for the club and we'll try and get a home semi-final," he added.

Diggin scored his hat-trick after a generous pass from Joe Ansbro following another great run from fullback Ben Foden, who looked dangerous all night. He picked up his fourth with time almost up as Bruce Reihana streaked down the wing before providing the scoring pass.

"I've actually scored five tries for the club before, against Sedgley Park in Division One," said Diggin, who feels his side are well positioned to be a big threat.

"The pack are unbelievable, providing Stephen Myler with an armchair ride. We have been to the big arenas now so we don't fear anyone. We can win this tournament as the competition for places is so fierce," he added.


Time: 02:55

Posted at 4:52 pm | 24 comments

Viewing 24 comments

Anonymous January 15, 2011 4:55 pm

2nd!!

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Amonynous January 15, 2011 4:58 pm

wait.. that means I'M FIRST!!!!

:) :) :) :)

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Anonymous January 15, 2011 5:01 pm

Minor fail there. Anyone reckon Saints will win it?

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Tom January 15, 2011 5:05 pm

Wasn't it 5 tries in the end?
4 from Diggin and 1 from Mujati?

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Anonymous January 15, 2011 5:12 pm

die hard saints fan but that was pants to watch

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Jaques January 15, 2011 5:19 pm

That's what happens when you have a south african on your team. Good to know Mujati is carrying Northampton so well. Wonder what they'd do without him...

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fry January 15, 2011 6:19 pm

What's the status of Scottish rugby? Is there just not as much interest in it that there should be for their teams to be better?

The past few years, they've been...underwhelming - especially this year. Sure they win games, but in the 6N, I end up expecting Italy to do better than Scotland (whether that speaks more of Scotland's slide or Italy's improvements, I'm not sure) and am surprised when the Scots win a game, or even score a try.

I mean no offense, it's just the opinion of an outsider who doesn't follow Scottish rugby enough to know the real scoop.

In fact, Scotland often play some beautiful rugby. They usually end up producing some great open-play running rugby. The problem tends to be that a) they seem to have a phobia of finishing tries and b) their defense seems to - more often than not - be missing.

I just wish they were a better side, that's all (starting with teams like Edinburgh).

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wow-jiffy-lube January 15, 2011 6:32 pm

Great team spirit from Ansbro there, Diggin doesn't have that sort of night often and it was good to see his teammates supporting him.

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Anonymous January 15, 2011 8:13 pm

Were scotland not the only team to win their autumn tests? Think they are all right then..

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Anonymous January 15, 2011 8:30 pm

you forgot england beating australia

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(u-p)rick January 15, 2011 10:53 pm

Well I don't believe fry was trying to cause any insults to anyone... However fry, I'd agree with point a, but not b, scotlands defence is generally their best bet (other than parks/pattersons boot) remember Australia a couple autumns ago, Scotland had no choice but to kill that game with their defence and it paid off!

Generally though they haven't seemed to be perfoming greatly... Well a fair few years ago they were finishing a grand slam 5 nations campaign.., whether that's their good play or others failed skill I do not recall....

As for this game, I was shocked to see ansbro pass the ball over the try line...

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fry January 16, 2011 12:15 am

Yeah, I know Scotland are more than capable of amazing defense. Their game against South Africa more than showed that. But their match against NZ was bewilderingly abysmal. The Samoa match was decent enough as well, and the close score was more due to my earlier point (a) than (b) - given that they had to have a solid defense because Samoa came out to play.

As I'm not from Scotland, nor am very well versed in Scottish culture, I'm most likely wrong, but isn't soccer the only sport competing with rugby in terms of popularity? Or are there others?

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cockbreath January 16, 2011 12:59 am

@fry,
Football is the main sport in Scotland and there is an ocean between footie and rugby. In the Highlands, shinty (scottish version of hurling)is also very popular.
Scotland is doing very well with a very limited number of players. They have less players then Samoa...

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 3:01 am

anyone else think paul diggin looks like stephen graham?!

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 8:46 am

Well Scotland has won Argentina, Australia, Ireland, Samoa and South Africa recently, i think that is pretty good actually. And all of that with the injuries and the number of players available.

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fry January 16, 2011 12:41 pm

Fair enough points all around. I think I'm just disappointed Scottish club sides are ending up towards the bottom of the table - both in the Magners and the HC.

Scotland is 7th in the world now, so that's still pretty impressive.

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 12:43 pm

love the way diggin gets munched by his teammate when hes going to stand up after his 4th try

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Believer January 16, 2011 3:49 pm

@Fry

Trust me, we are ALL really frustrated with Scotlands inability to score tries, but i do think this will come with time. Over the last year and a half, under Andy Robinson, the confidence to win games against big sides such as Arg, Aus, SA, Ire etc has been instilled, and no-one (bar the AB's) now come to Murrayfield expecting to win. Hopefully as the wins come, the tries will eventually too!

As for this game, i watched it, and while Northhampton were by far the better team, up until the 72nd minute, it was only 18-0 and it looked improbable that they would score a 3rd try, let alone a 4th or 5th. The scoreline is slightly flattering, even if the outcome is not.

We must also remember this was dead rubber for Edinburgh, and so they rested several players. You need only look at the result in the first leg between these teams to see what Edinburgh can do when they play a full team on form (check out the highlights on here, 3 amazing Embra tries).

Also, note Glasgow's LESS THAN 2ND STRING 20-10 victory over a Wasps team with everything to play for today!

The talent is there, but unfortunately the football culture and incompetence of those running the game in Scotland is always going to hinder us!

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 7:38 pm

mujati carries the saints? dont think so

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 9:29 pm

Bad game from the Saints. Rely too much on the pack now. Need to do more all around to be up for the big boys. Edinburgh was really bad!

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 11:09 pm

Anyone who thinks Mujati carries the Saints clearly hasn't watched them play. They have outstanding players from 1-15.

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Anonymous January 16, 2011 11:20 pm

scotland are basically the opposite of ireland. in scotland rugby was traditionally played only by the middle classes and by some working class people who werent located in the cities. scotland has a shrinking middle class as more and more the money is going towards london etc.for this reason over the last 20 years the progression of young players is shrinking. football was always the number 1 sport in scotland but that lead has only increased. in ireland on the other hand the middle class has grown exponentially and rugby is slowly starting to increase its presence down into the working classes and rural areas.particularly in leinster rugby is growing in popularity quickly hence the huge attendance figures at matches and the fact that leinster have an abundance of young players coming through. rugby is also increasing in popularity in connaught and munster but munster have a smaller population and connaught have a very,very small population.

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Haggis January 17, 2011 12:53 am

As a scot who has lived out of Scotland and also in Ireland, I can only state that it's our attitude which unfortunately causes some loss of interest.... Whilst living in Ireland, I watched all the international stuff I could. Generally I found if Ireland lost a match the fans would be disappointed, but still have a strong drive and backing towards the team and the country..... However, what I found from my many years growing up and playing and watching rugby in Scotland is that many Scottish fans can turn bitter towards the teams. Not in a malicious way but in a 'hah we have no chance in winning. I'm nae gonnae waste my time watching that' (which ofcourse is not true for all, but is a general trend) thus less people follow, less people play, and the standards slip....
I have noticed that under Andy the team has developed a sense of belief. This sense of belief then transpires to the fans....murrayfield can be the quietest and loudest place on earth in one single game...

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Paolo January 17, 2011 3:18 pm

Impressed with Foden, looks like he's coming into superb form at just the right time for the 6 nations

What a great bit of sportsmanship from Ansbro to give Diggin his hat trick. Seems to me that's a sign of a team who love playing together. Always good to see

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