Northampton 15-20 Wasps: Sloppy Saints punished by Dai Young's men
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 24/09/16 5:54pm
Wasps maintained their unbeaten start to the Aviva Premiership season with a hard-fought 20-15 victory against a sloppy Northampton outfit at Franklin's Gardens.
Jimmy Gopperth crossed for a first-half try and added 10 points from the boot while winger Josh Bassett touched down for a late score to seal the win.
George North's early try set the perfect tone but it would take the Saints another 75 minutes to score again as their accuracy in attack failed them on countless occasions throughout the contest.
With Saracens suffering defeat against Harlequins, Wasps temporarily move up to first in the league standings with unbeaten Bath in action against Leicester on Sunday.
Northampton made a stunning start to the contest and had their first try of the afternoon inside 60 seconds.
Ken Pisi, on his 100th appearance for the club, made great yards before a rampaging Kieran Brookes steamrollered over Elliot Daly from the next phase.
With the Wasps defence stretched, quick hands from Harry Mallinder and Ben Foden sent North racing over in the corner to send a heaving Franklin's Gardens into raptures. Myler pulled the touchline conversion wide, but the home side had made a big statement of intent.
Jim Mallinder's side would dominate the contest of the best part of 20 minutes but stubborn defence from the visitors, spearheaded by flanker Guy Thompson, would keep the Saints at bay.
Danny Cipriani then conjured a breakaway try with some trademark attacking brilliance. From a scrum deep in their own territory, the Wasps No 10 chipped and collecting his own grubber kick before offloading to flanker Thompson.
He in turn fed Gopperth in support and the Kiwi showed great pace to finish despite the best efforts of North. Gopperth converted from in front of the posts to stun the Saints.
Despite dominating possession and territory for the majority of the first half, Northampton would find themselves five points down at the break as a 31st-minute penalty from Gopperth increased Wasps' lead.
Wasps were dealt a significant blow early in the second-half with a groggy Cipriani leaving the field following a big collision with Saints No 8 Louis Picamoles.
Dai Young's side would draw first blood in the second-half as another Gopperth penalty made it 13-5 before Daly's long-range three-pointer drifted to the right of the posts.
A clever chip kick from hooker Mikey Haywood forced Gopperth to carry the ball into touch, handing the Saints a prime attacking platform.
Replacement Teimana Harrison rose high to claim the lineout, allowing Mallinder to crash over the gainline. Tom Wood's strong carry put the Wasps defence under immense pressure but England lock Courtney Lawes spilled Myler's pass with plenty of men to spare out wide.
Having been kept scoreless for nearly 75 minutes, Northampton finally breached the Wasps line with substitute scrum-half Tom Kessell barging over from close-range after a relentless spell of pressure. Myler added the extras to narrow the gap to a solitary point with four minutes left on the clock.
Wasps would have the final say, however, as Bassett raced onto replacement scrum half Dan Robson's kick ahead to touch down and seal a fourth consecutive league win.
Myler's late penalty secured a bonus point but the Saints will feel they should have had more.