Northampton stung by Wasps
By Tony Curtis
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Wasps booked their place in the Heineken Cup final with a 30-13 win over the Saints.
London Wasps booked their place in the Heineken Cup final after they finally overcame the brave efforts of Northampton.
The Saints may be fighting against relegation in the Guinness Premiership, however they took the game to the 2004 champions - and led 13-0 after 16 minutes.
However, while they were able to shut out Biarritz in the quarter-final, they could not deny Wasps despite another display of heroic defending.
Ultimately the sin-binning of Ben Lewitt after 49 minutes was to prove vital as Wasps scored 10 points in the Northampton flanker's absence, before adding two more tries late on.
Paul Sackey, twice, James Haskell and Josh Lewsey crossed for Wasps, with Mark van Gisbergen adding two penalties and two conversions.
Bruce Reihana scored all Northampton's points with a try, a conversation and two penalties.
In fact the Saints skipper got his side off to the perfect start when he opened the scoring after three minutes. Sean Lamont made the initial break, with Robbie Kydd and Carlos Spencer carrying the move on before Reihana applied the finish.
Reihana slotted over the conversion before adding two quickfire penalties as Wasps failed to recovery from that early setback.
However, with Lawrence Dallaglio leading from the front, Wasps began to work their way back into the game.
The alarm bells began ringing for the Saints when Danny Cipriani had a try disallowed on 23 minutes, before van Gisbergen slotted over a penalty.
Then on 33 minutes a catch and drive move from Wasps created the space for Sackey to cross out wide for his first try.
Wasps began to turn the screw after the break, however the Saints defence seemed to be in control - that was until Lewitt was given 10 minutes on the sidelines for killing the ball on 49 minutes.
Van Gisbergen made Saints pay immediately with a penalty, before another catch and drive move from a lineout saw Haskell burrow over from close range.
Trailing for the first time, Northampton went on the offensive - only for Paul Grayson's side to be caught by a sucker punch with 10 minutes left. The impressive Sackey danced past five would-be tacklers to score.
The Saints frustration was shown by Lewitt landing on top of Sackey after he had scored - with the Saints No.7 lucky not to have been sent off.
Van Gisbergen added the extras and was then on target when Lewsey rubbed salt into the wounds with a try out wide with just three minutes left.