A heavily disrupted Bath Rugby side unfortunately lost to Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens by a scoreline which doesn’t entirely reflect our performance.
In the week leading up to the game, Orlando Bailey, Ruaridh McConnochie and Jonathan Joseph were ruled out of contention due to knocks with a further 13 players also unavailable for the match due to injury.
Stuart Hooper then lost Josh McNally to an injury in the warm-up and whilst adjusting to that change, Northampton started brightly and scored within a minute of the kick-off. Rory Hutchinson dotted down after strong running from Tommy Freeman.
The Saints wing turned from try-maker to try-scorer on 12 minutes before Bath used a weapon that proved a useful attacking platform for them for the majority of the afternoon. A pinpoint line-out throw from Tom Dunn set up a tight, fast-moving maul and Sam Underhill’s leg drive saw him to the line.
Bath then lost Danny Cipriani for the rest of the game due to injury meaning Senior Academy centre Max Ojomoh had to step in at fly-half – a task he gave his absolute everything to. Not long after Cipriani’s half-back partner Ben Spencer was also forced off with Saints scoring their third through Juarno Augustus just before.
Those changes meant a makeshift backline consisted of three 21-year-olds (one of which was a Premiership debutant, another a centre at fly-half), a 22-year-old and a wing in the centre. Mike Williams was the sent to the sin bin and Northampton made their man advantage count with Augustus powering over again.
There was some joy just before the interval for Bath. Once again, the line-out was used to great effect. The forwards hammered the Saints fringes and Lewis Boyce got his rewards for a low drive to the line. Tom de Glanville stepped up to take the conversion with Spencer and Cipriani off the field and coolly slotted.
Five minutes into the second half, Williams was replaced by Academy lock Ewan Richards because of a head knock. Bath remained on the front foot and when Sam Matavesi was yellow carded for the home side’s persistent infringing, Will Stuart burrowed home for the visitors’ third try which de Glanville converted.
Any chance of a complete comeback was denied almost immediately as Courtnall Skosan scored in the corner and the wing collected a cross-field kick 11 minutes from time to complete the scoring.