Thursday, March 28, 2013

Saints on Course for Playoffs

Northampton Saints’ hopes of securing a Premiership playoff spot received a huge boost on Saturday as Christian Day touched down an injury-time try to see off rivals Wasps 26-24.

In an intense game of rugby that witnessed six tries and a flurry of world-class kicking, the Saints came out on top with a crucial victory and earned a bonus point through Stephen Myler’s conversion off Day.

The result means that, with four games to go in the Premiership, Northampton sit in that last playoff spot and four points above fifth-place Gloucester.

As for Wasps, this home defeat bitterly tarnishes their hopes of making the playoffs as they now stare a seven-point deficit in the face.

For Northampton the points were thoroughly deserved as Jim Mallinder’s men travelled to Adams Park intent on getting the job done. An early penalty try was soon followed up by scores from Lee Dickson and Dylan Hartley – the former playing well at hooker to recover from the torment of Six Nations defeat with England.

Looking into April, Northampton are probably in the best position of any of the Premiership’s leading pack in that they don’t have Heineken Cup distractions to worry about.

The three teams above them in the league – Saracens, Leicester and Quins – are all involved in Heineken Cup action next month and fans in the betting world can expect a rough ride for the English trio.

Should one slump in form Northampton are primed to leapfrog their rivals and move further up the ladder. Although they cannot realistically win the league they will battle hard to secure the best possible playoff spot – a determination fans should keep in mind when betting on rugby this spring.

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