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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 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com