Thursday, May 05, 2011

Northampton Saints beat Perpignan to make the Heineken Cup Final

Northampton Saints beat Perpignan to make the Heineken Cup Final

Northampton Saints cruised through their Heineken Cup semi final against Perpignan on Saturday with a 23-7 win, setting them up for a final showdown with Leinster in Cardiff on Saturday, May 21.

Visitors Perpignan failed to turn up in what was a puzzling performance from them. They were however blown away by the power of Saints, with the front row in particular asserting their dominance on more than one occasion.

Saints shot off to a 20-0 lead in the first half before Perpignan attempted to claw their way back. The loss of Julien Candelon for a reckless tackle didn't help, and the home side controlled matters well in the second half, hanging on for a well deserved victory and place in the final.

"This is a fantastic achievement. I think we've been criticised a bit in the past for being one one-dimensional with our forward power, but I was delighted to see our all-round game," said coach Jim Mallinder.

"It's all about winning - no-one remembers losing semi-finalists or losing finalists. We've done remarkably well, but we haven't won anything yet.

"We will look at Leinster and make sure we are accurate against them. They are full of international-quality players with recent experience of winning competitions."

The final will be at the Millennium Stadium in two weeks time. Any predictions?

England and Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson will be doing a Facebook session on Monday, whereby you can submit your questions , and he will respond live by video. Find out more and sign up for the event by joining the Gillette Facebook page and event.
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Julien Candelon's reckless tackle on Lee Dickson
Time: 05:35

Posted at 2:33 pm | 40 comments

Viewing 40 comments

OutsideCentre May 05, 2011 2:20 pm

First!!!!.....And always will be!!!

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Corbin May 05, 2011 2:31 pm

holy shit that scrum at the end was pure destruction. As a forward, that got me pumped up just sitting here.

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Nick May 05, 2011 2:40 pm

That scrum is impressive. To be honest I thought that Perpignan would do them over in the scrum but they're looking like one of the best front 3 around now.

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GreG May 05, 2011 2:45 pm

Solid performance from the Saints. Their forwards play was very performant and backs did the job on their 2 or 3 occasions.


But i think Leinster are a better and more complete side, and were impressive vs top class clubs. saints way was far more easy
Leinster: Clermont, Racing, Saracens, Leicester, Toulouse!
Saints: Castres, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Ulster and Perpignan..

the truth or the surprise in 3 weeks

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I hate ppl who write May 05, 2011 2:58 pm

Hoping for a Leinster win, should be close.

Agree with the above comment, Leinster had the toughest run up. I think the real final was between them and Toulouse. Can never write anyone off at this stage though, it's all about the day!

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james May 05, 2011 3:11 pm

Outside of the northampton scrum I cannot see them gaining any upper hand in the final over leinster. Foden, Ashton et al are dangerous but not as dangerous as Nacewa on his own who can destroy teams who kick to him. Sexton and the Leinster mid-field will create chances that the low quality opposition so far faced by the saints haven't been able to do.

Can only see one winnner in cardiff but in a final you never really do know what can happen. Leinster's back row and general all round attacking and defensive qualities should see them through tho, win by 10 pts is my prediction

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 3:14 pm

northampton took their chances, but perpignan went over way too easy for their try. I think they will find it tough against a much better defence in the shape of leinster. all i know is Sean O'Brien is going to dominate (best player in nothernhemisphere at the moment?) leinster to win by 8-10 points in the final.

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ConnachtFan May 05, 2011 3:22 pm

Leinster for the Final, nothing against Saints but Leinster have the pedigree, pace and maturity.

If Leinster win then Connacht get promoted to the HCup next season ( well that is until IRFU think of a way to screw us over again and revoke the opportunity)

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Canada for RWC11 May 05, 2011 3:33 pm

BOOOOO, MORE SUPER RUGBY GAMES PLEASE. I sometimes catch the aviva and heineken games since they're only 5 hours apart but not the super rugby games as they are 14 hours apart and always show early morning lol.

Not to mention these are usually boring. Perpignan is the worst team I've ever seen, how did they win last year? I haven't heard of 90% of their team.

more superrugby plz

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 3:34 pm

As a Leinster supporter, congrats to the Saints, as honest a team as you'll find in the Heinekin Cup.

I wouldn't be as confident as some here about the final outcome. Its a cup match where big hearts count and great skills can wilt under the pressure (look at Munster).

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ForzaaaaItaliaaa May 05, 2011 4:54 pm

Good game Saints.

Anyone but an english team to win the cup is good for me in this final.
:-)

I want a great runing rugby match though as I'll be in the stadium. :-)

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 4:58 pm

12th :(

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wish i was 1st May 05, 2011 5:26 pm

13th!

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 5:39 pm

monster scrum!!!

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Colombes May 05, 2011 6:09 pm

Saints scrum was pretty impressive as Perpignan is considered to be one of the best of the top14. Perpignan didnt have their traditional grinta, their true final was already accomplished during their quarters in barcelona.
For the final, i think leinster are the Great favorites but u never know, northampton can disturb them by playing with their front 5 and try some runs with Foden and Ashton.

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 6:10 pm

courtney lawes is going smash o'brien big time!

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headbutturownhead May 05, 2011 6:23 pm

Saints played well, Perpignan didn't really turn up!

Regardless well played but should be a straightforward win for Leinster in the final, don't see where Saints can get an upperhand? Even in the scrum Leinster have been very strong...

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munster man May 05, 2011 6:37 pm

leinster are gonna make pure crap out of the saints.....leinster by 20

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 6:40 pm

i think northamptons only real weakness is in the half backs. their scrum should really test leinster though. im looking forward to courtney lawes and sean obrien smashing each other. leinster dont really have a weakness.very well balanced side. sexton is going to be doing a load of cross field kicks on top of the little wingers heads for horgan to catch. will be hilarious because its never happened to them before

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Matthew May 05, 2011 6:56 pm

May the best team win in the final. COYS!

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 7:11 pm

Not to mention these are usually boring. Perpignan is the worst team I've ever seen, how did they win last year? I haven't heard of 90% of their team.

This post has got to be a wind-up, surely?

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Maverick May 05, 2011 8:11 pm

The way to beat Northampton, is to contain Mujati and Tongahuia, and stop their big centres from getting over the gainline. These are their main men in their gameplan. Get front foot ball and get their back 3 into play.

Myler isn't classy enough against the top sides to get his dangerous back 3 into play on the back foot, nor do his side have much of a plan B if things don't go their way.

When they are going well though, they are very dangerous, and very capable of being Leinster on good form.

Northampton's problem is their depth, and if they have to lose some key men, they tend to fall apart.

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Anonymous May 05, 2011 8:31 pm

that was one hell of a scrum, northampton seem to be making quite the reputation for themselves in the scrummaging department. amazing.

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SmellyNerfherder May 05, 2011 8:39 pm

How Dowson has never worn an England shirt will always bemuse me. Another brilliant performance.

I particularly liked the slow mo replay of the Tuilagi smash! Fantastic stuff!

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SmellyNerfherder May 05, 2011 8:44 pm

@Canada for RWC11:
'Perpignan is the worst team I've ever seen, how did they win last year? I haven't heard of 90% of their team.'

Sorry, you think Perpignan are the worst team you've ever seen? and you support Canada?

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Chris Boy May 05, 2011 9:30 pm

there was no attempt to use arms by the guy who went low on Tuilagi. watch the replay.

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Matthew May 05, 2011 10:26 pm

@Maverick - actually, I think the way to beat Saints is to slow them down, because when not busily scrummaging they love to play at pace. The tries of the season are at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Taco4X9jrbc and the common theme is that they're all at a hundred miles per hour. Particularly like Tiny's against Leicester myself: hot knife through butter!

View Video

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mise May 05, 2011 10:37 pm

a bit worried about healy in the front row against these guys. Case for Van Der M in his place on the starting line up?

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chogan14 May 06, 2011 6:38 am

Where's plays of the week. Week 10 +11 would be awesome

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Little Chief May 06, 2011 7:04 am

clearly a shoulder charge on tuilagi.
2 against 1, and one of them was using a shoulder. no wonder tuilangi got hit so hard.

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Nick May 06, 2011 8:36 am

Mise, you're right. If they go with healey it could end up being a really touch tough day in the scrum and could cost them a lot of opportunities. The effect Van Der Merwe had when he came on last week was impressive. If he starts it should be an interesting comp in the scrums.

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Paolo May 06, 2011 9:33 am

I agree with Matthew. the Saints love playing at pace and are always, looking for the counter-attack/gap/off-load.

All of their pack are able to run and pass and people like Dowson, Lawes and Tonga'uiha provide a great link between forward and backs

The way to beat them is to slow them down and keep possession away from them

That said, I think Leinster will be up for running it as well and it should be a great game - although I find it hard to see past Leinster for a winner

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Anonymous May 06, 2011 11:44 am

The wrong offside call on Marty chip and chase is conveniently ignored in the video. 10-0 instead of 7-7

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Jacques May 06, 2011 12:46 pm

Northampton have a killer front row. Wish Mujati would come back to SA. The Boks could use him.

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Anonymous May 06, 2011 1:10 pm

haha it gas when you here people say roger wilson didnt use his arms for the hit on tuilagi despite the fact tuilagi has never used his arms to make a tackle in his life.

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Anonymous May 06, 2011 10:10 pm

well played by the saints but they won't score tries like that against leinster

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Anonymous May 06, 2011 10:31 pm

Brian Moore is a dick

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Anonymous May 08, 2011 12:33 am

At 2:24 the saints medic perping the perpignan wing(i think) that made the tackle in the air, is the funniest thing i've ever seen.

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Flipje May 08, 2011 11:42 am

Where the hell was Perpignan??????
What a nightmare! Did they left too much influx in their historic 1/4 final in Catalona? Well....

They were simply totally outplayed by a very impressive Saints.

I am not surprised by The Saints back row....Watching Fodden running during the game, I had some flashback reminding me of J. Robinson.

I was mostly surprised by the Saint front rows as I expected here to see Perpignan imposing their mark.

The Saints are very impressive and clearly will have their say in the final. If the Saints can reproduce the same kind of start....might a very interesting final for a neutral and quite a nail biting one for both set of supporters...

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Anonymous May 09, 2011 7:08 pm

'Canada for RWC11 said...

Perpignan is the worst team I've ever seen'

Evidently you have never seen Canada play.....

Anyway, did anyone enjoy the fact that Ashton did not score?!? and from all on this highlight it looks like he wasn't involved in the try's!!

I don't wish to bash the young upcoming players, and no doubt he will be a name to watch for England, however I think there is something just a little bit more, idk, enjoyable about watching a young guy come up and just play the game...

I mean Richie Gray for Scotland is crazily young and he plays the game extremely well, different positions I know but he doesnt seem to let his ego overtake or even get level with his playing ability. In the 6N i'd be inclined to say he was Scotlands best forward, yeh there was no 'everyone look at me' syndrome going on...

Leinster will destroy Northampton im sure...

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