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Northampton Saints
Gallagher Premiership Playoffs | Final
Jun 8, 2024 at 3pm UK
SaintsNorthampton Saints
BathBath Rugby
Freeman (23'), Sleightholme (27'), Mitchell (72')
du Toit (30'), Muir (50')

Northampton Saints survive monumental scare to win Gallagher Premiership Final

Saints survive monumental scare to win Gallagher Premiership Final
© Reuters
The Northampton Saints end their 10-year wait for another Gallagher Premiership crown with a nerve-jangling 25-21 win over Bath Rugby in Saturday's final at Twickenham.

The Northampton Saints ended their 10-year wait for another Gallagher Premiership crown with a nerve-jangling 25-21 win over 14-man Bath in Saturday's final at Twickenham.

Playing with an extra man for over an hour, the Saints let a 15-3 lead slip as an inspired Bath astoundingly fought back to lead 21-18, but George Hendy and Alex Mitchell made themselves the heroes of the hour, combining for the Premiership-clinching try in the dying embers.

Despite breaking the deadlock through a Finn Russell before Fin Smith wasted a chance to draw the Saints level nine moments later, Bath lost their advantage as the latter made amends with a drop goal, and they were soon condemned to playing an hour with 14 men.

With 21 minutes gone, Beno Obano took the walk of shame for a high tackle on Juarno Augustus, and the Saints immediately capitalised as Tommy Freeman and Ollie Sleightholme crossed the line within four minutes of one another.

However, Bath adopted a never-say-die attitude as Thomas du Toit's try and Russell's kick cut the deficit back down to five before half time, and an early second-half penalty from the latter raised hopes of a terrific turnaround further.

Things went from bad to worse for Northampton in the 46th minute when Burger Odendaal - feeling the full force of a Russell and Sam Underhill sandwich - although their five-point advantage was restored when Smith kicked through the posts soon after.

The 14 men of Bath miraculously found themselves level in the 51st, though, as Will Muir was the beneficiary of Ben Spencer's terrific kick to the corner, although Russell could not convert to give Bath a slender lead.

The advantage that Johann van Graan's resilient men dearly craved arrived not long after, though, as Russell capped off a period of dominance with his third penalty of the game in the 66th minute, propelling Bath into a deserved three-point lead against the ailing Saints.

Dowson's men were at sixes and sevens throughout the second half, but their saviours arrived in the form of George Hendy and Alex Mitchell, the former of whom made a barnstorming run forward before teeing up the 27-year-old for the try that would break Bath hearts.

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Bath Rugby's Miles Reid celebrates a try scored by Niall Annett on June 1, 2024
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