Close sidebar

Northampton Saints Edge Out Connacht To Keep Their Champions Cup Hopes Alive

Champions Cup Play-Off Semi-Final, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England 20/5/2017 Northampton Saints vs Connacht Northampton's Louis Picamoles

Pat Lam’s hopes to deliver Champions Cup rugby as a parting gift to Connacht were dashed on Saturday, as his side were defeated 21-15 by Northampton Saints.

The 2016 Pro12 champions endured a difficult campaign this time around, but the slim possibility of qualifying for the Champions Cup via the playoffs was some consolation at least.

However, despite their best efforts, their Premiership opponents proved too strong for them. The tone was set for the match almost immediately as a first-minute converted try from Harry Mallinder put the home side seven points to the good. Niyi Adeolokun responded several minutes later to level the score, but Mallinder’s fine kicking form from penalties meant that, in the end, the Saints were always able to do just enough to get the victory.

Champions Cup Play-Off Semi-Final, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England 20/5/2017 Northampton Saints vs Connacht Northampton's Nic Groom celebrates scoring his side's second try with his teammates
INPHO/James Crombie
_____

Nonetheless, Lam can be proud of his side, even if they fell a bit short of getting that surprise win. He now departs for Championship side Bristol, with Kieran Keane replacing the New Zealand native this summer.

Saints, meanwhile, will face off against Cardiff Blues’ conquerers, and recent Challenge Cup winners, Stade Francais, for a place in the Champions Cup.

The general consensus after the game, according to immediate social media reaction anyway, was that while Northampton did enough to win, Connacht might feel that they could have believed in themselves more.

_____

[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]

Read More About: , , , ,

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.