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Northampton Saints 33-3 Exeter Chiefs

Northampton (20) 33
Tries: Downey, Diggin, Armstrong Cons: Lamb 2, Myler Pens: Lamb 4
Exeter (3) 3
Pens: Mieres

Jon Clarke
Exeter have never beaten Northampton at Franklin's Gardens

Northampton ended a run of four consecutive Premiership defeats with a convincing win over Exeter.

James Downey crossed for Saints in the second minute, and Ryan Lamb converted, as the hosts started brilliantly.

Exeter's Ignacio Mieres kicked a penalty but Saints hit back with a Paul Diggin try and eight points from Lamb.

The Chiefs toiled after the break in the face of staunch defending as two penalties and a converted Scott Armstrong try ensured Saints' victory.

Northampton were back to their best at Franklin's Gardens and dominated the first half as they attacked at pace and looked comfortable with the ball in hand.

Downey's early try came as Exeter uncharacteristically fell off tackles.

Half-backs Karl Dickson and Lamb orchestrated Saints brilliantly and Diggins' 26th-minute try was all about Lamb as he shaped to pass but then dinked through a kick which the winger grounded.

Northampton fly-half Lamb converted from the touchline before slotting penalties either side of Tom Arscott's sin-binning for a deliberate knock on.

After the interval the Chiefs' pack upped their work-rate but failed to convert their vast possession into points.

Exeter's scrum crumbled early on in the half and the resulting penalty allowed Lamb to extend Saints' lead to 20 points.

The visitors laboured for a meaningful opening but the hosts were clinical on their offensive forays into Exeter's half and Lamb added three more points 12 minutes from the end.

As the game came to a close Armstrong rounded off an accomplished Saints attack - which Stephen Myler converted.

POST-MATCH VIEWS

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton:

"It was a good win. Ryan Lamb put us in good positions. Some of his passing was excellent today.

"To concede no tries for the second week was pleasing.

"Just to mention two people - Mike Haywood and Calum Clark - in terms of competing and turning ball were outstanding today."

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

"If we'd have played the first half like the second half, I think it would have been a relatively interesting game.

"What we didn't do was really put them under enough pressure for them to really ever start questioning themselves and the start to the season they've had.

"We're a team that are learning and we've learnt some tough lessons today."

LINE-UPS

Northampton: Tonks, Diggin, Clarke, Downey, Armstrong, Lamb, Dickson, Doran-Jones, Haywood, Mujati, Manoa, Day, Craig, Clark, Dowson.

Replacements: McMillian, A. Waller, Mercey, Sorenson, Wilson, Roberts, Myler, May.

Exeter: Arscott, Tatupu, Naqelevuki, Shoemark, Jess, Mieres, Thomas, Moon, Clark, Andress, Hayes, Muldowney, Johnson, Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Replacements: Whitehead, Sturgess, Fairbrother, Phillips, White, Barrett, Steenson, Rennie.

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)



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see also
Worcester 12-3 Northampton
30 Sep 11 |  Worcester
Exeter 13-17 Saracens
01 Oct 11 |  Exeter


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