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Claassy Bath sink Saints
Meehan's men march back to the top after home victory
Two second half tries from Michael Claassens helped Bath climb back on top of the Guinness Premiership as Northampton were beaten 25-14 at the Rec.
In a tightly-contested and scrappy affair, a brace from the South African No.9 proved decisive as Bath leapfrogged both Sale and London Irish to claim top spot.
Saints enjoyed plenty of possession but did not possess a cutting edge sharp enough to open up the home defence until the final minute when lock Juandre Kruger crossed in the corner.
Bath's first try came in the second minute when wing Matt Banahan latched on to Butch James' grubber kick. The South African fly-half's accuracy was wayward with the conversion attempt though and Bath remained 5-0 ahead.
Stephen Myler sent a long-range penalty wide at the other end for the visitors but made amends with a more straightforward effort on 14 minutes, only for James to reply almost immediately.
The lively Northampton pack, which included England international Dylan Hartley, was held just short of the line on 19 minutes but when Bath prop David Flatman was penalised at the resulting scrum, Myler made it 10-6 with his second penalty.
James responded with a penalty after the visitors were offside at a ruck but there was a scare for Bath when the Springbok had a clearance kick charged down at the other end.
It was only Joe Maddock's alertness that denied Myler a try as Saints began to threaten Bath's unforgiving defence.
Full-back Jack Cuthbert, struggling to field Myler's high kicks in the biting wind, fared no better when called up for a long-range kick on the half-time whistle.
Myler pulled the score back to 13-9 soon after the restart with a long-range penalty, but Bath latched on to a fumble by Saints skipper Bruce Reihana to work their way within striking distance of the visitors' line.
Saints conceded two scrums and a free-kick before Claassens dived through a gap and stretched out an arm to score.
James could not convert but Myler was finding it no easier and missed a penalty, to leave his side nine points adrift going into the last 15 minutes.
After Bath introduced Justin Harrison and Daniel Browne off the bench they suddenly had the advantage up front and it was Northampton who were struggling for parity.
It was no surprise then that Claassens claimed his second try on 74 minutes off the back of a scrum, James converting.
The home supporters were urging their side on for the bonus point try, but Saints came back with a consolation for Kruger after he collected Myler's chip.
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|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Northampton|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Leicester|
|Sunday 5th October|
|14:00||Sale vs Wasps|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Exeter|
|Friday 10th October|
|19:45||Leicester vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 11th October|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Irish|
|15:15||Northampton vs Sale|
|Sunday 12th October|
|14:00||Wasps vs Bath|
|Saturday 15th November|
|14:00||Sale vs London Irish|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Newcastle 18 - 20 London Irish|
|Wasps 20 - 16 Northampton|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Exeter 20 - 24 Leicester|
|Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks|
|Bath 53 - 26 London Welsh|
|Friday 12th September|
|Harlequins 0 - 39 Saracens|
|Sunday 7th September|
|London Welsh 0 - 52 Exeter|
|Saturday 6th September|
|London Irish 15 - 20 Harlequins|
|Leicester 36 - 17 Newcastle|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath|
|Saracens 34 - 28 Wasps|
|Friday 5th September|
|Northampton 53 - 6 Gloucester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com