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SAINTS SHOOT DOWN THE GUNNERS



Edinburgh rounded off their pre-season campaign with a 47-17 defeat to Northampton at Franklin's Gardens, being out-gunned seven tries to two.

The Gunners, still minus a vast number of top names, were up against it from the outset after losing their own scrum on their 5 metre line. Their defence was finally breached by the first Saints try coming from prop Robbie Norris scoring under the posts to give Paul Grayson an easy conversion.

With the start of the Celtic League next week and the knowledge that every point will count in mind, the Gunners first points came from the decision to kick for goal instead of going for the corner with Phil Godman on target.

The Saints continued to put Edinburgh under constant pressure and it was only a matter of time before they were on the scoreboard again. Two John Rudd tries in quick succession, both converted by Grayson brought the score to 21-3 after twenty-five minutes.

It wasn't all one way traffic though and after a lovely chip through by Godman, Gunners debutant Michael Pyke gave the small band of travelling support something to cheer by rounding off a great move and scoring between the posts, with Godman converting.

Northampton responded quickly however with a push over try by Scotland internationalist Tom Smith from a lineout after Grayson had kicked a penalty perfectly into touch at the corner flag.

So with the score line reading 26-10 at half time the Gunners made a number of changes and the scrum was looking steadier at the beginning of the second half. However they were still losing too many turnover balls and Northampton notched up a further three tries from fullback Bruce Reinhana and two from Ben Cohen.

As ever the Gunners refused to give in and kept pressing for another score. This pressure finally paid off when referee Tony Spreadbury awarded them a penalty try for a deliberate trip. Godman converted to make the score 47-17. The Gunners still weren't content to give in and after a chip ahead by Rob Dewey, John Clarke was unlucky to be denied in the corner as the final whistle blew.

Despite the score line, there were again some positive displays. Toddy as always was solid and led from the front, Rob Dewey impressed when he came on with some strong running and good tackles and scrum half John Clarke also looked lively. It was also great to see Simon Webster, Ally Hogg and Mike Blair back in black!

The final comment on the match has to go to referee Tony Spreadbury. Now I'm no expert on all the rules of rugby and refereeing but if anyone can explain a signal that led to a rendition of "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" from the home crowd I'd love to hear it!