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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Saturday, 19 February 2011

Bath 38-8 Northampton Saints

Bath (17) 38
Tries: Banahan 3, Carraro, Vesty Con: Barkley 5 Pens: Barkley
Northampton (3) 8
Tries: Tonks Pens: Myler

Bath wing Matt Banahan
Banahan breaks through to set up Matt Carraro for Bath's second try

Matt Banahan scored a hat-trick as Bath eased past Northampton to record their fourth successive Premiership victory.

Banahan also created Matt Carraro's score, while Olly Barkley kicked 13 points, which included the extras for Sam Vesty's late touchdown.

Northampton could only manage a Greig Tonks try and Stephen Myler penalty in their heaviest defeat of the season.

Bath's England captain Lewis Moody came off the bench to return to action after five weeks out with a knee injury.

He proved his fitness with a 23-minute appearance, but it was national team colleague Banahan who was the star of Bath's bonus-point victory.

After Barkley's penalty opened the scoring, good work from flanker Ben Skirving and fly-half Butch James allowed Carraro to send Banahan over for the home side's first try.

Barkley converted - as he did with all of Bath's five tries - and, after Tonks was sin-binned for a high tackle on Tom Biggs, Banahan came in off his wing, held off Saints captain Phil Dowson and delivered a one-handed scoring pass to Carraro.

Myler's penalty got Northampton on the board before the break but second-half scores from Banahan, the first a 30m dash after being fed by Michael Claassens, the second as he blasted through Jon Clarke's attempted tackle, effectively settled the contest.

Tonks' score, preceded by a moment of class by substitute fly-half Shane Geraghty, provided Saints with some cheer, but that was eroded when Vesty cruised over in the closing stages.


Bath winger Matt Banahan:
"I thought some of the forwards were outstanding - they really put the hard yards in.

"Rugby is a game you are always learning about, and it is about giving myself the best opportunity in a game.

"[On his England hopes] All you can do is knock hard on the door. England are playing really well."

Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder:
"If you let Bath get on the front foot, they've got a really good offloading game, and when Matt Banahan has a game like that, they are very difficult to stop.

"We were all at sea. The players know they played badly.

"They have come off second best after a bad day at the office."



Bath: Abendanon; Banahan, Carraro, Barkley, Biggs; James, Claassens; Flatman, Mears, Bell, Hooper, Grewcock, Skirving, Watson, Taylor.

Replacements: Vesty for Carraro (55), Cuthbert for Biggs (51), McMillan for Claassens (70), Barnes for Flatman (60), Dixon for Mears (58), Wilson for Bell (49), Fernandez Lobbe for Grewcock (51), Moody for Skirving (58).

Northampton: Tonks, Reihana, Ansbro, Clarke, Armstrong, Myler, Commins, Tonga'uiha, Sharman, Mujati, Vickerman, Day, Clark, Dowson, Wilson.

Replacements: Elliott for Ansbro (55), Geraghty for Myler (51), Powell for Commins (47), Waller for Tonga'uiha (58), Long for Sharman (58), Mercey for Mujati (58), Sorenson for Vickerman (49), Easter for Dowson (51).

Attendance: 12,200

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).



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see also
Guscott's predictions
20 Feb 11 |  English
Northampton 15-29 Saracens
12 Feb 11 |  English
Sale 7-19 Bath
11 Feb 11 |  English
Rugby Union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union


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