Northampton edge out Toulon as Glasgow dramatically beat Bayonne

Northampton Saints and Glasgow Warriors both dug deep to win their second pool games in the Champions Cup; Northampton have won both of their Pool 3 games so far to top the table and Glasgow are now up to third after their crucial win on Friday night

Last Updated: 15/12/23 10:34pm

Northampton Saints defied a succession of injuries and a determined Toulon to register a 22-19 Champions Cup victory at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints led for most of the match until their former second row David Ribbans, who departed the east Midlands at the end of last season, went over in the 66th minute to give the Top 14’s second-placed side the lead.

Wings Tom Seabrook and George Hendy had been lost to knee problems in each half and shortly after the break there was also the worrying sight of scrum-half Fin Smith receiving treatment. To compound an alarming night on the injury front, Hendy’s replacement Ollie Sleightholme limped off as well.

But the pendulum swung when Toulon saw Matteo le Corvec and Jeremy Sinzelle sin-binned in the same passage of play, leaving them to complete the last five minutes with only 13 men.

It proved too big a challenge as Northampton broke through soon after when replacement lock Tom Lockett fell over the line in the right corner with Smith converting.

Courtney Lawes was outstanding for the home side as they made it two from two in this season’s Champions Cup, lifting the record of Gallagher Premiership clubs to eight wins in nine games.

Lawes, the player of the match, made several important contributions and was at his best in defence when Toulon’s fightback gathered momentum. Full-back George Furbank finished with two tries, showing his strength for the second score.

Northampton made it two wins from two in a rollercoaster match against Toulon
Northampton made it two wins from two in a rollercoaster match against Toulon

Glasgow just hold on to beat Bayonne

Also in Pool 3, Glasgow Warriors made light of their set-piece failings to edge out Bayonne 12-11 and put themselves back in the hunt for the round-of-16 with a much-needed away win.

Having been beaten 28-17 at home in the first round by Northampton, the Scottish side headed to the south of France bottom of the pool and they had to withstand a final 40-second, multi-phase onslaught with the clock in the red before taking the points.

The game got off to a flying start and the packed home crowd created a magnificent atmosphere for their club’s first home game in the Champions Cup.

They made a fantastic debut in the tournament by picking up a 17-17 draw at Thomond Park against Munster and were looking for a fast start at Stade Jean Dauger.

A frantic and furious first half began with Glasgow looking the most likely to score first after being gifted a penalty in the home half, two minutes into the game. Ross Thompson – playing his first game in 18 months – kicked into the right corner and the line-out drive came on.

Bayonne held them out twice, the second time after a Thompson cross-field kick was gathered by Ollie Smith, who touched down in the corner. The try was ruled out, though, because one of his boots shaved the touchline.

Both teams shunned easy shots at goal to try to score tries. Bayonne were the first to cross the line, although Argentina number eight Rodrigo Bruni was adjudged to have used a double movement and had his 14th-minute effort ruled out.

The opening score of the game came just after Zander Fagerson was shown a yellow card by English referee Adam Leal for going off his feet at a breakdown. That gave home captain Camille Lopez the chance to knock over an easy penalty in the 28th minute.

The French side built on that lead six minutes later after Lopez had kicked another penalty in the Glasgow 22 into the right corner. This time the line-out drive worked as Argentina hooker Facundo Bosch rode the dive before pouncing to score.

It was a one-point game at the break, although another Lopez penalty two minutes into the second half made it 11-7 to the home side.

Glasgow eventually hit the front just short of the hour mark with their second try of the game. Having worked their way up to the Bayonne line, two long passes to the left enabled Kiwi wing Josh McKay to sprint to the corner and finish with an acrobatic dive to score the try that put Glasgow a point ahead.

New Australia signing Reece Hodge pushed two monster kicks just wide of the posts as the pressure mounted from the home side, but Glasgow stayed strong and stood tall.

Source : Sky Sports