Exeter Chiefs 15 Northampton Saints 18
Northampton Saints' gained a crucial 18-15 victory over the Exeter Chiefs to move above the South West team into fourth position.
The Chiefs controlled much of the first half and were unlucky to only be 10-3 up through a converted Gonzalo Camacho try and an Ignacio Mieres penalty, with Stephen Myler responding for the visitors. In the end, it cost them dear as the Saints improved immensely in the second period as scores from Chris Ashton and Paul Diggin, and a Myler three-pointer sealed the win. Richard Baxter went over late on for Exeter, but the Midlands' outfit now move one point above the hosts in the Premiership. In effectively the top-four decider it was Northampton who got off to a better start. Although their attack was too lateral, they were awarded a penalty which Myler converted. Instead, despite containing so-called lesser names in their backline, it was the well-drilled Chiefs who continually threatened the Saints' defensive line for the rest of the opening period. From their first attack, they went through numerous phases before the ball was shifted out to Camacho who wriggled over. Mieres added the extras before the Chiefs went on the attack once again. After 17 minutes, the hosts' fly-half kicked a three-pointer to extend their advantage to seven points. Hoani Tui then had an opportunity to go over after the visitors had made a hash of a highball, but the prop didn't have enough pace to reach the line. Exeter deservedly led at the break, but the Midlands' club struck back just two minutes into the second period. Their scrum had been intermittent throughout the first half, but a stable platform allowed the backs to attack from first-phase ball. Play was eventually spread out to Ashton who finished consummately. It was now Northampton who were on top. A Myler penalty saw them into the lead before Diggin's crucial late try secured the win, despite Baxter touching down for a potentially vital losing bonus-point.