Stephen Myler kicks Northampton to victory in Amlin Challenge Cup final

Outhalf lands seven from eight to deny Peter Stringer and Bath

Bath’s Peter Stringer is unable to prevent Northampton’s Ben Foden from scoring a try during the Amlin Cup final in Cardiff last night. Photograph:  Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Bath’s Peter Stringer is unable to prevent Northampton’s Ben Foden from scoring a try during the Amlin Cup final in Cardiff last night. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

 

Northampton 30, Bath 16: Stephen Myler’s relentless goal-kicking accuracy shot down Bath and gave Northampton Amlin Challenge Cup final glory at Cardiff Arms Park last night.

Myler booted six penalties from six attempts and converted substitute Phil Dowson’s 71st-minute try for a 20-point haul as Saints prevailed 30-16, with fullback Ben Foden confirming victory when he touched down four minutes from time. Penalty chances In contrast, Myler’s opposite number George Ford missed three successive penalties after converting Anthony Watson’s first-half touchdown.

England coach Stuart Lancaster looked on as Ford, who will miss the three-Test tour of New Zealand next month due to impending shoulder surgery, lost his radar.

He did kick three penalties but Myler showed him how it should be done.

It ended Northampton’s run of four successive defeats in major finals – one Heineken, one Premiership and two LV Cups. They clawed back to 13-12 adrift approaching the hour-mark, then two more Myler penalties to one by Ford edged Northampton ahead before Dowson and Foden pounced in quick succession.

It denied Bath a first piece of silverware since they beat 2008 Challenge Cup final opponents Worcester, but it was Saints’ second Challenge Cup triumph in six seasons.

Northampton were down to 14 men after three minutes of the second half when Alex Corbisiero was sin-binned for tackling Bath captain Stuart Hooper off the ball, but Ford again drifted his kick wide.

Myler then completed his penalty hat-trick and it was the cue for Bath boss Mike Ford to introduce former Ireland and Munster scrumhalf Peter Stringer for Micky Young before Ford missed with another shot at goal.

Ford’s inaccuracy off the kicking tee came as an unexpected bonus for Northampton, and it meant they were still in a game that Bath should have closed out.

Bath substitute Anthony Perenise was yellow-carded 10 minutes from time and Northampton made them pay when Dowson was driven over from a lineout and Myler’s conversion sealed the deal.

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