Posted: Friday 23rd May 2014 at 23:11 pm

Northampton Saints collect European Challenge Cup


Fly-half Myler led the comeback, the 29-year-old scoring 20 of his side’s points, while late tries from Phil Dowson and Ben Foden saw Jim Mallinder’s men collect their first major honour since lifting the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2010.

That had looked unlikely at half-time as a score from winger Anthony Watson aided Bath to a 13-6 lead at the break.

But a Jekyll and Hyde performance ” personified by number 10 George Ford – saw Bath relinquish their grasp on the contest at Cardiff Arms Park.

Bath fly-half Ford looked particularly impressive in the early stages in front of England coach Stuart Lancaster, who may have been rueing the 21-year-old’s absence from the tour of New Zealand later this year due to upcoming shoulder surgery.

Ford was responsible for Bath’s opening six points, kicking two penalties that each time were answered by Myler.

It took 27 minutes for the first try to arrive, Watson pouncing on a loose ball to sprint from his own half and touch down under the posts, Ford adding the conversion.

However, Ford spurned a simple kick shortly before the break and – after the sin-binning of Northampton prop Alex Corbisiero – duly followed suit with another missed penalty after the restart.

Meanwhile, Myler reduced the arrears and, after a third straight missed attempt from Ford, Myler added six more points with the boot to put Northampton into an 18-13 lead.

Ford ended his disappointing second half to bring the score within three points, but Bath were at a disadvantage when Anthony Perenise was sent to the bin.

Northampton made the most of the numerical advantage, as Dowson was credited with touching down among a host of bodies following a drive from a line-out in the 71st minute.

The game was put beyond doubt with four minutes remaining. Fittingly Myler played a part, making a crucial interception before offloading to Luther Burrell and, though he was denied by a last gasp tackle from Clermont Auvergne-bound Nick Abendanon, Foden ripped the ball from his team-mate to add the score.

Myler failed with the resulting conversion, but he can look back on an impressive performance as Northampton were left celebrating at the final whistle.

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