Bath Rugby head into Round 11 of the Gallagher Premiership with back-to-back wins over Sale and Gloucester, the squad looking forward to their trip to Franklin’s Gardens. With debuts and young talent combining well alongside experienced heads, recent matches have showcased their pride in wearing the Blue, Black, and White.
Northampton Saints come into this fixture after rising to fourth in the Gallagher Premiership following a close victory over last season’s English and European champions Exeter Chiefs.
Saints put in a determined performance, keeping the pressure on the hosts throughout the match. With the scores tied at 7-7, a try apiece, at half-time, Saints’ fly-half Piers Francis slotted away two unanswered penalties in the second half to extend a six-point lead.
Chiefs responded at the death with a 79th minute try from Sam Skinner putting them back in contention. The tightly-fought contest ended in nail-biting fashion when, as Joe Simmonds began his kicking routine to take the conversion, Ollie Sleightholme led a Saints charge-down and booted the ball into the stands to record a first victory at Sandy Park since 2014.
Up the road at the Rec, Bath secured a 16-14 win over West Country rivals Gloucester with a tenacious performance.
An early dismissal for Gloucester’s Val Rapava-Ruskin proved costly for the visitors as the Blue, Black and White put in a display of grit and determination.
Gloucester looked to be leading going into the break until Taulupe Faletau, returning to Bath from Wales, finished off some slick interplay between Jonathan Joseph and Tom de Glanville, securing a 7-6 lead at the halfway point.
Gloucester continued to create pressure in the second half, with the game levelling down to 14 on each side.
A committed Bath defence managed to keep Gloucester out until the 75th minute when Lewis Ludlow found his way over in the corner.
However, Bath earnt a 78th-minute penalty through pressure and Golden Boot winner Rhys Priestland stood up to the occasion and slotted a 45-metre penalty, sealing Bath their second victory in as many weeks.
Bath will look to channel that grit and determination from Friday night and put it into full effect against a Northampton Saints side who will be looking repay the favour from last season’s defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.
A resolute Bath side were rewarded with a 18-3 victory over Saints in August 2020, this result saw Bath secure a third straight win in a row – which would be fitting for a Bath victory on Sunday.
Date: 28 February 2021
Competition: Gallagher Premiership R11
Where: Franklins Gardens
Referee: Ian Tempest (83rd Premiership game)
Assistants: Paul Dix and Jonathan Healy
TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Citing Officer: Nick Wood
Media Coverage: BT Sport 2
Northampton Saints RUGBY CURRENT FORM
Exeter Chiefs 12 – 13 Northampton Saints | Gallagher Premiership
Wasps 17 – 22 Northampton Saints | Gallagher Premiership
Gloucester Rugby 26 – 31 Northampton Saints | Gallagher Premiership
Northampton Saints 29 – 10 Worcester Warriors | Gallagher Premiership
Leinster Rugby 35 – 19 Northampton Saints | Gallagher Premiership
LAST TIME OUT
Bath Rugby moved up to fourth in the Gallagher Premiership after securing an 18-3 win over Northampton Saints, having put in a resolute performance to secure a third straight win in Round 16.
The Blue, Black and White were first on the scoreboard with a Josh Matavesi penalty. As Northampton looked to get their score off the ground, they could only level up through a Dan Biggar kick at the sticks.
In the second half it was Northampton who came out with an all-guns-blazing attack, playing some superb play, but Hooper’s men remained determined and were awarded as Tom de Glanville found the whitewash in the corner after a superb move out wide.
Ruaridh McConnochie capitalised on a lapse of concentration as he intercepted Henry Taylor’s loose pass to score under the sticks. Rhys Priestland then added the final blow of the game with a penalty just five minutes’ from time and Bath Rugby prevailed with an excellent defensive performance.