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Dave Ikin photographs Saints first home win of the season as London Irish stumble at Franklin’s Gardens

Northampton Saints 38 - 22 London Irish * Pictures by Dave Ikin

If it was any other team but Northampton Saints who had won a game this way you would have called it ‘doing it the hard way’.

When Irish lost three players to yellow cards not only did they manage to stop Saints scoring but also put three points on the board themselves.

Northampton Saints match report

But when it was 15 against 15 Saints managed to conjure up some stellar moments including an insight into the outrageous imagination of Alex Mitchell.

Former Saints second row Api Ratuniyarawa gets a close look at Salakaia-Loto in the lineout

He chipped over the Irish midfield, collected it and then found Juarno Augustus in raging bull mode with a long looping pass to the wing. The eight burst over the line to clinch a stunning try.

Saints lost their fly-half twice. Once before kick-off when Dan Biggar dropped out through illness and then a yellow card to James Grayson for a deliberate knock on, which saw the influential George Furbank take the wheel.

The fact that these unplanned changes did not disrupt Saints’ ability to compete is a quiet vindication of the work that goes into this squad behind the scenes.

It can face no sterner test than the visit of Leicester Tigers to cinch Franklin’s Gardens next week.

Pictures by Dave Ikin

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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