Northampton 40-19 Bath
Danny Cipriani and Ben Spencer both injured
Northampton Saints ran in six tries as Bath’s woeful start to the season was compounded by a glut of further injuries. The West Country side have now suffered nine defeats from nine league matches this season, and they lost their half-back pairing of Danny Cipriani and Ben Spencer to the medical room before half-time.
Northampton’s bonus-point victory means they remain in the play-off mix, but it was far from a flawless performance by Saints who were at times wasteful in attack.
Bath are currently in a very public search for a defence coach and the opening quarter-of-an-hour provided compelling evidence of how an appointment cannot come soon enough.
Saints found space down the wings far too easily. First, Tommy Freeman fed Rory Hutchinson for try while fans were still taking their seats, then Freeman crossed for a touchdown of his own following selfless work by fellow winger Courtnall Skosan.
How fortunate Bath were to have Sam Underhill on the field. While his team lacked coherence, the England flanker ran hard, tackled harder and polished off a lineout drive after Charlie Ewels’s clean take.
Bath lost both their half-backs to injury after just 25 minutes. Cipriani went off with what looked like a blow to the head and then Spencer left the field with damage to his right arm. The visitors had also lost Josh McNally before the first whistle, the lock withdrawing with an upper body problem.
It was a steady flow of bad news for the visitors, and Saints had the bonus point in the bag before half time. Juarno Augustus, their No 8, scored either side of a sin-binning for Bath’s Mike Williams following a high challenge.
Lewis Boyce salvaged an iota of respectability for Bath just before half time with a try from short range, but at 28-12 the contest already felt sealed in Saints’ favour.
The tries continued to flow after the break, and the West Country side briefly threatened a revival. Will Stuart touched down for Bath after hooker Sam Matavesi was sin-binned for offside, but Skosan responded with a brace for the hosts to settle the home crowd’s nerves.
Bath also lost Williams to a head injury in the second half, and the challenge for the visitors is now not only how to win a match but how to field a senior team.