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Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Monday, 14 April 2008 09:54 UK

Saints seal league and cup double

Northampton Saints celebrate
The Saints last lost a competitive match in April 2007

Northampton Saints completed a league and cup double by beating rivals Exeter Chiefs 24-13 in the EDF Trophy final at Twickenham on Saturday.

Two tries and 14 points from the boot of Saints full-back and skipper Bruce Reihana ensured the National League One champions remain unbeaten this season.

The Saints have won 28 out of 28 league matches and five out of five EDF Energy National Trophy clashes.

Reihana said: "We are delighted with the win. This was a tough game."

Northampton started the more impressively and only some ferocious defending from Exeter prevented a score in the first minute.

Their luck ran out in the 16th minute when centre Joe Ansbro finally broke the duck following a well-taken line-out, catch and drive five metres out from Exeter's line.

A recycled ball back out into the midfield led to wing Paul Diggin setting up Ansbro, who found space to dive his way over the line. Reihana added the conversion.

We set our goal to win at Twickenham and we have done that

Saints captain Bruce Reihana

Exeter bounced back and hooker Sam Blythe went close before flanker Chad Slade touched down. Substitute Tony Yapp added the conversion to draw the scores level and then booted his side into the lead with a 21st-minute penalty.

Northampton piled on the pressure before the break and grabbed a try following a clever exchange of passes involving Wiggin and Chris Ashton. Reihana missed the conversion, but added the penalty to hand Northampton a 15-10 lead at the break.

Exeter started well in the second period, and only the boot of Reihana kept the Saints ahead. The former All Blacks player stroked over three penalties to take a 24-10 lead.

The Saints were pushed hard all the way with Yapp adding a final penalty just before the final whistle.

Skipper Reihana added: "We set our goal to win at Twickenham and we have done that. We are now looking forward to going back into the Premiership after an off season."


Exeter: Kingdom, Luff, M. Fatialofa, J. Fatialofa, Drauniniu, Kelly, Stuart-Smith, Parkes, Blythe, Sturgess, Stephenson, Hanks, Slade, A. Miller, Baxter.
Replacements: Jenkins, Dunlea, Bentley, Johnson, Barrett, Yapp, A. Miller.

Northampton: Reihana, Ashton, Ansbro, Downey, Diggin, Spencer, Howard, Smith, Hartley, Stewart, Lord, Rae, Easter, Lewitt, Hopley.
Replacements: Shields, Tonga'uiha, Murray, Tupai, Fox, Robinson, Myler.

Referee: John Paul Doyle (RFU)




see also
EDF Cup final photos
12 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
League One improved us - Spencer
25 Mar 08 |  My Club
Northampton return to top flight
22 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Drewett says final will be tough
17 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Exeter Chiefs 16-8 Nottingham
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Plymouth Albion 8-22 Northampton
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union


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