A full house at Franklins Gardens – 13,459 supporters – witnessed Northampton Saints thrash London Wasps with 11 tries; securing the biggest victory recorded this season so far.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though as Wasps had flown in to sting.
Although Dai Young had put out a weakened side, resting some of his key players, with an eye on their European play-off match next week, Wasps took a 0-13 lead with Charlie Davis scoring his first Premiership try and Tom Varndell scoring in quick succession.
Saints looked in danger and some stunned supporters might have worried about a long afternoon ahead, but how quickly things turned around.
It all started with a decent finish from galloping George North, lighting the blue touch paper, and suddenly Franklins Gardens and the unstoppable Saints came to life. Â Then what followed was a frenzy of fabulous tries. Â A massive and relentless rolling maul led by Phil Dowson saw the Saints over the line again and then it was Stephen Myler, right on the shoulder of Ben Foden who attacked at speed, beating three defenders to touch down.
Northampton had found their flow, their Mojo was motoring and a lovely off-load from Mike Haywood to Luther Burrell secured the bonus point try and Saints went into half time with sunny smiles and a satisfying 27-13 lead.
The second half saw seven consecutive tries from the Saints, the first from Lee Dickson off the back of a rolling maul and then it was the turn of full-back Foden to have a go with his fancy foot work.
Daring Dickson didn’t stop there, as he then punched another and â€˜no-stopping-me-nowâ€™ North did just the same, rocketing almost the length of the pitch to the eruption of an ecstatic Franklins Gardens. And boy did he deserve that reaction.
So who else wanted some try line action?
Well it was Ken Pisi who followed suit and then Tom Stephenson who wriggled his way through the bewildered Wasps defence!
Try number eleven by captain Phil Dowson was a perfect way to end the afternoon – but it was a pure pummelling of the Wasps side, their largest defeat this season.
Full Time: Northampton Saints 74-13 London Wasps
Dai Young said after the game:
â€œWe could not handle their power. We won the first 20 minutes but then we were very disappointing and it was pretty embarrassing for the last 30 minutesâ€
Northampton are now hungry, confident and determined in the build-up to their home semi-final against their local rivals Leicester Tigers. Â But if previous derbies are anything to go by, it will be a tense and nervy game. And as Jim Mallinder said;
â€œNext week against Leicester it will be a completely different gameâ€
But Saints will take away numerous positives from their win over Wasps.
â€œWe started to control the game and our forwards got on top and we created some lovely tries. I think it was power from one to 15,â€ said Mallinder.
I would agree and would give a special mention to Alex Corbisiero, who returned from a long injury to come back off the bench and add a new dimension to Northampton’s phases of play. A real power house and an awesome asset.
Northampton have home advantage again next Friday night and if they can use their power, along with the voice of the 16th man, this just might be the time to put one over their East Midlands rivals.
But you can’t underestimate the power of the Leicester Tigers; supremely forceful and physical and undoubtedly hungry to reclaim their title of Premiership Champions.
Saints beware â€“ Tigers take no prisoners!
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership semi final, Franklinâ€™s Gardens, 19.45 Friday 16th May.
By Rhiannon Chandler-Day (@RhiannonCDay)
To see more from Rhiannon, please check out her rugby blog at: rhiannonsrugbyunionblog.blogspot.co.ukrhiannonsrugbyunionblog.blogspot.co.uk