JJ Hanrahan holds nerve to secure points for Saints
Former Munster back kicks late penalty as Northampton edge contest with Bath
Northampton’s JJ Hanrahan kicks their winning penalty against Bath.
Northampton maintained their recent dominance over Bath after former Munster outhalf JJ Hanrahan’s late penalty shaded a dour Recreation Ground contest.
The Kerryman’s 72nd-minute strike edged Saints home 13-11, and made it 10 games unbeaten against the west country club in all competitions.
Wing Semesa Rokoduguni looked to have condemned Northampton to a fourth Premiership defeat of the season after his classy second-half try put Bath in front, but Hanrahan had other ideas.
Rokoduguni’s touchdown followed two George Ford penalties after Northampton led through centre Luther Burrell’s try when he intercepted a Ford pass, while Hanrahan landed an earlier penalty and conversion.
Elsewhere, new England head coach Eddie Jones watched from the stands as Harlequins completed a 38-7 victory over London Irish.
Scotland’s Dutch-born wing claimed a hat-trick of tries, each of which took some finishing with the 28-year-old’s strength and pace proving the undoing of Irish’s defence.
The debate over Chris Robshaw will not have moved on after Saturday afternoon, with England’s incumbent captain and openside merely workmanlike apart from a late burst into space.
Jones, who was forced to delay the start of his post as he waited for his visa to be issued, said of Robshaw during the World Cup that “at international level he just doesn’t have that point of difference” and must have seen little at Twickenham Stoop to change his mind.
Quins were able to celebrate a bonus-point victory that strengthens their challenge for a place in the play-offs, while Irish are still searching for their first match points of the season.