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Northampton Saints and London Irish battle in a thrilling rain dance

Pictures from a heart stopping encounter between Saints and Irish by Dave Ikin

They will call this a game of two halves because Saints got it so right in the first 40 but Irish so very nearly rained on their parade in the second.

But really this was a battle of magic as Irish tried to repeat the amazing comeback they pulled off to finish 31 all with Sale last weekend, an apparently easier 17-7 turnaround required after Saints first half dominance saw tries from Proctor and Collins.

Despite the sudden appearance of errors in Saints game as Irish went up a level in the second, the voodoo did not work for the visitors to Franklin’s Gardens.

If anything the dour rain magic of a bleak East Midlands autumn came to Saints rescue as the home side squeezed just enough penalties out of the second half to be 23-21 ahead at the death.

The final encounter of the game was emblematic of the whole sliding doors struggle. Paddy Jackson got clobbered as he shaped to take a drop kick that would give Irish the game. It looked like Saints were saved but then the TMO was called in to review it – a penalty under the posts would have handed the game to Irish. The Gardens held its breath and then erupted as the ref ruled no foul and ended the game.

So Saints find a way to continue their unbeaten Premiership march.

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