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Monstering Munster

Now my heart beat has reduced to a normal rate and my blood pressure has dipped to below levels never seen in a person still alive I can put my ramblings about Saturday onto paper.

This Saints squad will just take anything that is chucked at them, look at the challenge and accept it – with bells on!

Playing against Munster is a challenge, playing Munster at Thomond Park a steeper challenge, playing Munster at Thomond Park with 14 men, in the teeth of a howling gale an absolute sheer cliff of a challenge!

Saints started so brightly with a simply amazing try by magician Mitch – not content with turning a couple of the Munster chaps inside out he managed to place the ball backwards over his head! A gymnast as well as a magician. Fin Smith, composed as ever, slotted the extra points.

Then the wheels got a bit wobbly as first captain Furbank was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle then hooker Curtis Langdon was given a red card for making contact with Thomas Aherne’s head in a ruck.

In between the two cards Munster came back with a converted try. Saints were then down to 13 men and Munster are too good a side not to make them pay. A further try followed but fortunately, as it turned out, the conversion wasn’t on target.

Saints went in for half time oranges 15-10 down, facing a second half with only 13 men for the first three minutes and then 14 for the rest of the half. But this side laughs in the face of misfortune and set off the second half with a penalty from Smith.

With Saints defence putting up a strong display Munster brought the ball in tight and eventually battered through the wall with a try from close range, again the conversion fell wide.

Saints were now 10 points behind – was this game going to go the way of previous games at this cauldron of Irish rugby?

Fin Smith kept a cool head and not only slotted a penalty but also landed an immense drop goal, a howitzer of a shot bringing Saints up to 20-16.

A penalty apiece kept the margin to four but then the long arm of the Lawes reached out and earned Saints a penalty. Smith kicked for the corner and the ensuing maul moved infield. Suddenly a figure emerged from the melee – replacement back row Sam Graham had not only seen a way out of the maul but also a clear run to the try line. No mistakes for Smith saw Saints 23-26 up with just the eight  minutes in which to give their faithful followers a collective nervous breakdown.

Keeping calm and having faith in each other and their processes the boys kept marauding Munstermen at bay – there must have been a seismic roar across Northamptonshire and its environs as the final whistle went.

An historic win for Saints – ninth successive win in all competitions and 12 from 12 for Furbs as skipper this season!

So now we gallop into the knock-out round of 16 with a home tie against.....Munster. With 7 of the eight ties in this round being repeat fixtures from earlier rounds one can’t help but feel there is a fault with the format (one of many, I think).

Lightning were not to be outdone on the winning front – notching up a useful 45-21 victory over Ealing Trailfinders to bag all five points. And the winning didn’t stop there – Saints U18’s secured a victory over Midlands Central academy with a kick in the 78th minute for a final score of 41-43.

Newcastle at home on Saturday – we will be without our super seven with England and Newcastle are between coaches as Steve Diamond is set to take over from the beginning of February, Alex Codling has already stepped down. Let’s make the 16th man as noisy as possible – just remember it’s an early KO – come and see us at the Supporter’s Club gazebo in the village.

For witterings to match these ramblings take a listen to Ladies Wot Pod on Spotify or You Tube.

Photographs as ever from Claire Jones (she got very wet on Saturday) at Red Hat photo.


Our Courtney - please don't leave us....


Magician? Gymnast? take your pick but certainly the best scrum half on the pitch.


An unusual match - Tommy Freeman didn't score but posed a threat all over the pitch.


Fin Smith - cool head but on fire with the boot!


Try line in his sights....Sam Graham breaks through to secure the winning try


The ecstacy and the agony......

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