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banner Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Sorry Saints' Cup hopes hit
John Leslie
John Leslie's captaincy failed to inspire Northampton
Northampton 15-21 Montferrand

Injury-hit Northampton saw their Heineken Cup hopes take a battering with the 21-15 defeat by Montferrand at Franklins Gardens

Missing club captain Budge Pountney and England skipper Matt Dawson, Saints made too many unforced errors and seldom looked like breaching the visitors' defence

Ali Hepher's kicking and a series of missed chances from Montferrand kept Northampton in the game into the last quarter.

It's a big mountain to climb now, a big challenge for us
John Steele
Northampton coach

But Montferrand, in charge for all but the closing moments, held on for a deserved win.

The result leaves Northampton third of four in Pool Five, needing a win in France next weekend to revitalise their challenge.

Both sides traded penalties as the match entered its crucial final phase before a final mistake 12 minutes from time took Montferrand away.

Youngster Joe Shaw tried to kick clear from within his own 22, but his punt was charged down by Xavier Sadourny and the Frenchman ran through unopposed for the crucial score.

It put them nine points in front and spared the blushes of the try-scorer, who had a stinker of a day with the boot.

In an ugly, disjointed first half Northampton somehow made it through to the break just 10-6 down.

Burst through

With Ben Cohen struggling at full-back and Montferrant's number eight Elvis Vermeulen dominant, they could count themselves fortunate to concede just one try.

Rougerie burst through from a ruck eight yards out to touch down, only for the try to be disallowed after the linesman spotted Caputo stamping.

Not that it took long for the same man to post a legal five points.

Another fine midfield break left Rougerie with two men to beat, and with Cohen giving him way too much time and space he powered straight through under the posts.

Sadourny added the conversion and a penalty - but several other misses kept Saints within striking distance.

Cohen, Martin, Jorgensen, Leslie, Webster, Hepher, Vass, Smith, Thompson, Stewart, Newman, Phillips, Soden, Blowers, Hunter.
Replacements: Brotherstone, Todd, Rennick, Budgen, Brooks, Tucker, Shaw.

J. Marlu, Rougerie, Ngauamo, Chanal, D. Bory, Sadourny, Troncon, Reidy, Caputo, Galasso, Barrier, Lecomte, Audebert, Jaques, Vermeulen.
Replacements: Pedrosa, Gomez, Dongieu, Machacek, Magne, Dalzell, Biars.

Referee: Clayton Thomas (RFU)

BBC rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson
"Northampton failed to fire on all cylinders"
Northampton coach John Steele
"We didn't take several clear opportunities"
Montferrand coach Steve Nance
"It was tight at the end"
Links to more Heineken Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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