Slick Saints send Bulls packing

Slick Saints send Bulls packing

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Northampton Saints put nine tries past the Vodacom Bulls to ease into the Champions Cup semi-finals with a dominant performance on Saturday night.

Having gone into the break leading by just six points, Northampton Saints went up a gear in the second half to earn a 59-22 victory in the Champions Cup quarter-final clash at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints will go on to face Leinster in the Champions Cup semi-finals, after Jacques Nienaber’s team emphatically dethroned La Rochelle in Dublin earlier on Saturday.

The Vodacom Bulls, who came into the game under fire for fielding a heavily rotated side from last weekend’s last 16 victory in Pretoria, gave a good account of themselves in the first half, but couldn’t live with the pace of the game in the second half.

There were early warning signs for the visitors as Saints took just 10 minutes to open the scoring through fullback James Ramm from one of many midfield linebreaks from a set-piece.

While Cameron Hanekom, one of a handful of impressive performers for the Bulls, levelled the scores with a try after winning a turnover from the kick-off, Saints scored another three tries in quick succession to open up a 28-10 lead.

The Bulls had to scrap for most of the first half, but finished the half strongly as Akker van der Merwe dashed down the touchline to score in the corner, before Sebastian de Klerk ran 80m for an intercept try when Saints looked destined to score.

However, the Bulls endured a nightmare start to the second half, conceding inside the first 40 seconds, before Ramm grabbed his second try. There was to be more pain for the visitors as a 14-point swing saw a try chalked off and Cameron Hanekom yellow carded for a tip-tackle, with Saints working their way upfield to add another try, scored by Fraser Dingwall.

Saints would score another couple of tries, with England scrumhalf Alex Mitchell capping off a sensational solo performance, before Juarno Augustus forced his way over to round off the scoring in the last 10 minutes.

The Bulls will have little time to lick their wounds, as they return to Vodacom URC action next weekend against defending champions Munster in Pretoria.

Photo: Paul Harding/Getty Images



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