Tommy Freeman achieved two tries in Northampton’s first Champions Cup game, leading them to a 28-19 win over Glasgow with a total of three tries.
The Warriors had only lost one home game in the past two years, but they were clearly outplayed as the Saints fought back from an early deficit to secure a well-deserved victory. Glasgow also scored three tries, but Northampton’s superior kicking ultimately made the difference between the two teams.
Phil Dowson, the director of rugby for Northampton, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance. He acknowledged the importance of not dwelling on past results, but instead focusing on improvement in this tournament. Dowson praised the team’s strong performance in the first half, highlighting their excellence in the breakdown and discipline with penalties. He also commended their physicality on the field.
Nathan McBeth replaced Oli Kebble in the home team, who recently became a father. Additionally, Matt Fagerson celebrated his 100th game with the club.
The Northampton team welcomed back England’s scrum-half Alex Mitchell, as well as wing George Hendy. Meanwhile, Fin Smith, who is eligible to play for either Scotland or England, started as fly-half for the visiting team.
After only five minutes, Glasgow took the lead. Mitchell made a mistake by trying to pass to Hendy, but Sebastián Cancelliere intercepted it. The Argentina wing then ran from his own half and scored a try. Tom Jordan was unable to convert the points.
Northampton made a swift comeback and by the end of the first half, they had gained a significant lead by scoring three tries and a penalty kick from Smith. The first try was made by Courtney Lawes, the experienced English player receiving a pass from Smith and breaking through Sean Kennedy’s attempted tackle to score.
The Saints continued to apply pressure and soon found themselves scoring once more. This time, Freeman was the one to score, capitalizing on the team’s sustained effort and receiving a pass from Smith.
After Scott Cummings was deemed to have not followed the rules in the lineout and caused Alex Waller to leave for a head injury check, the Warriors were left with only 14 players. During this time, Northampton capitalized on their numerical advantage and George Furbank assisted Freeman in scoring his second try of the match by running around the post. Unfortunately, Waller did not come back into the game.
At half-time, Glasgow replaced their scrum-half Kennedy with Ben Afshar. They also subbed out three players in the pack in an attempt to improve their performance in the game. However, this did not have the desired effect as Smith scored two more penalties, giving Saints a bigger lead and securing their win.
The Warriors were able to please their fans as Ollie Smith scored off his own chip kick, followed by a penalty try being awarded to the home team. However, the Saints remained strong and secured an important victory.
Dowson expressed some disappointment with the second half, acknowledging that it was not flawless and allowing the opposing team to create chances. However, he also highlighted his satisfaction with many aspects of our performance tonight.
Glasgow’s head coach, Franco Smith, expressed that the team appeared to be taken aback, which is expected if they have not previously played in the Champions Cup. However, they demonstrated improvement in the second half and displayed their ability to come back from a tough situation. Despite this, they are disappointed with their performance in the first half.