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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Saturday, 12 December 2009

Northampton 30-18 Treviso

Northampton (8) 30
Tries: Foden, Ansbro, Ashton 2 Cons: Geraghty 2 Pens: Geraghty, Myler
Treviso (13) 18
Tries: Vermaak, Goosen Con: Botes Drops: Goosen 2

Chris Ashton dives over for his first try
Ashton has been in free-scoring form for Saints of late

Northampton wing Chris Ashton scored two tries as Saints kept their Heineken Cup hopes alive with a come-from-behind victory over Treviso.

The Italian side were 13-3 ahead after 34 minutes with Benjamin Varmaak scoring a try and fly-half Marius Goosen kicking two drop-goals.

But Saints hit back, Ben Foden scoring just before half-time while Joe Ansbro added another just after the break.

Ashton then crossed twice in seven minutes to seal an important victory.

With Munster defeating Perpignan on Friday night, Saints knew victory was vital in order to keep in touch with the Irish province in Pool One.

Treviso, who stunned Perpignan back in October, went ahead in the sixth minute when Geraghty tried a chip inside his own 22 only for lock Varmaak to grab the ball and stroll over for a simple try.


Geraghty made amends with a 12th-minute penalty but Northampton could not maintain momentum as they made a host of mistakes.

Goosen fired over his first drop-goal on 17 minutes and he added another six minutes before the break after penalty misses for both Geraghty and Tobias Botes.

Northampton dominated the rest of the half and after centre James Downey was held up over the line, Foden dived over in the corner for the home side's first try.

Ansboro levelled the scores just after the break following some powerful work by the forwards and a flat Geraghty pass while Ashton finished off a sweeping move three minutes later to put Saints in front.

Geraghty produced a superb inside pass to unhinge Treviso's defence on 54 minutes, Ashton eventually finishing the move off for his 13th try in 13 games.

Goosen gave Treviso hope with a try when Saints failed to clear their lines but although lock Courtney Lawes was sin-binned for retaliation, a Stephen Myler penalty 12 minutes from time sealed the win.

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder:

"We talked before the game about not playing basketball rugby from minute one, but we did try some off-loads that were not on, and that early charge-down try could have proved costly.

"But we know now that we will have to be at our very best in Treviso next week if we are to go into the new year in a strong Heineken Cup position.

"Ben Foden's try on the stroke of half-time was crucial because it meant we gained some impetus going out after the break."

Northampton: Foden; Ashton, Clarke, Downey, Ansbro; Geraghty, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Hartley, Murray, Lawes, Day, Dowson, Best, Wilson.
Replacements: Myler for Downey (64), Mayor for Ansbro (67), Dickens for Dickson (64), Mujati for Tonga'uiha (66), Sharman for Hartley (71), Bonorino for Murray (54), Kruger for Day (54), S Gray for Best (66).

Sin Bin: Lawes (60).

Treviso: McLean; Vilk, Sgarbi, Garcia, Botes; Goosen, Semenzato; Rizzo, Ghiraldini, Rouyet, A Pavanello, van Zyl, Vermaak, Zanni, Kingi.
Replacements: Waters for Garcia (54), Picone for Semenzato (56), VIdal for Rizzo (41), Allori for Ghiraldini (41), E. Pavanello for A Pavanello (56).
Not Used: Cittadini, A Ceccato, Mulieri.

Sin Bin: Picone (76).

Att: 12,071

Ref: Pascal Gauzere (France).

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see also
Perpignan 29-13 Northampton
16 Oct 09 |  Northampton
Munster 41-10 Treviso
17 Oct 09 |  Munster
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Heineken Cup 2009/10
22 Dec 09 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union

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