Northampton overcame Exeter 20-19 to bounce back at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night
Tries from George North and Rory Hutchinson edged Saints 14-13 ahead at the break
Two penalties from Harry Mallinder secured a narrow win with the later two minutes from full-time
A late penalty from Harry Mallinder helped Northampton pick up a vital 20-19 victory over Exeter in a thrilling Premiership clash on Friday, meaning they avoid a third straight home defeat.
Exeter began the better with Gareth Steenson splitting the posts after six minutes to give the away side an initial three-point lead. The experienced fly-half then converted Olly Woodburn’s try soon after before adding another penalty as Exeter continued a rampant first ten minutes, 0-13.
Saint winger George North, recently lauded by his coach Jim Mallinder, then showed his international pedigree; finishing a multi-phase move off in the corner after a neat little side-step inside. Mallinder then added the extras, 7-13.
North soon after turned creator, running the ball from deep, deep inside his own half, first breaking the line and then jinking his way around a hopeless tackler on halfway. The Welshman, running out of room, then picked out a pass to debutant Rory Hutchinson, who was able to finish what was a stunning score.
Mallinder’s conversion was good and within the space of just 90 seconds Northampton had gone fro 13-0 down to 14-13 ahead, which is how things stayed at the break.
Exeter retook the lead after the break, Steenson passing 2,000 points for the club to put Exeter 19-14 up.
But Mallinder kicked two late penalties, the later two minutes from full time, to snatch victory for the hosts.
Northampton: Louis Picamoles