Scarlets produced their second Heineken Cup win on the trot as they upset Northampton Saints 28-23 on Friday night at Franklins Gardens. They are now top of Pool 1, while Saints have a tough task ahead of them if they are to qualify.
Saints tasted defeat a week earlier at the hands of Munster and Ronan O’Gara’s late drop goal, so this was a must win game for them. Unfortunately for the home crowd, their performance was littered with errors and whenever Scarlets got a sniff, they took their chances.
Tries were scored by Liam Williams, Aaron Shingler (the brother of Steven, who received a red card around the same time), Matt Gilbert, and flyhalf Rhys Priestland. The latter was fantastic on the night, earning him the Man of the Match award and further enhancing his reputation at the first choice number ten in Wales.
“It’s got to be pretty big against a side of Northampton’s quality. I don’t think they’d lost at home in the competition since 2007, so it was a big scalp for us,” said coach Nigel Davies.
He acknowledged that they got the bounce of the ball at times, particularly with the Shingler try.
“We had a little bit of luck as well, which we need on occasions. The tries we scored were opportunist, but our game without the ball was fantastic. I really fell we went at them from the first whistle. We knew we had to do that,” he said.
Saints staged a bit of a comeback and got within touching distance late in the game, but ultimately it was a good win for the Scarlets who have looked very impressive so far in the tournament.