Pisi brothers tower over Glasgow to inspire comeback win

TRY GUY - George Pisi is congratulated after scoring one of his two tries in the Heineken Cup win over Glasgow (pictures: Linda Dawson)

TRY GUY - George Pisi is congratulated after scoring one of his two tries in the Heineken Cup win over Glasgow (pictures: Linda Dawson)

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Saints came back from 15-0 down to kick-off their Heineken Cup campaign with a bonus-point 24-15 win over Glasgow Warriors at Franklin’s Gardens.

Jim Mallinder’s men were in dire straits with 30 minutes gone but the brothers in arms, Ken and George Pisi, were the architects of a fine recovery.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Ken put in a performance as bright as his fluorescent orange boots, making numerous key breaks and laying on the second of two tries for sibling George.

Stephen Myler and Vasily Artemyev secured the five points, which puts Saints level at the top of pool 4 with Ulster.

Myler had a poor day with the boot but his try at the beginning of the second half put Northampton ahead for the first time in the game and they didn’t look back.

Glasgow, coming into the game on the back of four wins in a row in the RaboDirect PRO12, had surged into a 15-0 lead thanks to tries from Josh Strauss and former Saint Sean Lamont.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

But they couldn’t hold on as the Pisis took hold, Ken claiming man of the match and George grabbing a brace in his first game back since injuring his shoulder against Worcester.

It was a vital victory for Saints after Ulster had issued a statement of intent in pool 4 on Friday night, claiming a bonus-point win against French side Castres at Ravenhill.

Northampton were desperate to match their Irish rivals and knew victory against the Warriors was necessary if hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals were to be harboured.

They started on the back foot at Glasgow warmed their hands early on with a concerted spell of pressure, which almost yielded a try as they were held up five metres out.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Samoan speedster Ken Pisi relieved the pressure as he picked up after Warriors spilled the ball, turned on the turbos and was halted 20 metres out.

Saints were starting to get a foothold in the game and the Warriors were hit with an early blow as flying full-back Stuart Hogg was forced off with injury.

But Hogg’s withdrawal didn’t have an immediate negative impact and Glasgow were rewarded for their good start on 18 minutes as Horne was handed a penalty chance he refused to pass up.

Saints were stunned into life and the spiky Ken Pisi almost punctured the Scots’ line after picking up a pass from Samu Manoa, but the TMO declared ‘no try’.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

And Glasgow took full advantage of that reprieve as Al Kellock offloaded brilliantly for South African Strauss to score.

Horne again kicked the points and the Scots boasted a 10-0 lead inside 27 minutes.

The Warriors were sharpening their swords and they cut Saints again just moments later as former Northampton wing Lamont darted inside Ken Pisi to score in the corner.

Horne missed the conversion and Saints’ kicker Myler suffered the same fate at the other end a minute later, skewing a penalty wide of the posts.

Myler was again wide with his effort two minutes before the break, but at least his effort came after a try as George Pisi showed great footwork to get over the line and narrow the deficit to 10.

And George was again on the mark in the final attack of the first half as he finished off following sterling work from brother Ken, who burst through the Glasgow backline.

Myler reduced the arrears to three with the conversion and it was game on at the Gardens.

Saints needed a big start to the second half and they got it as their forwards got over the gain line and got them to within five metres, where Myler was waiting to dot down from Dylan Hartley’s short pass.

The fly-half again failed to find his shooting boots, but his side were ahead for the first time in the game, and sensing a fourth try to bring them a bonus point.

Just as Glasgow had in the first half, Saints suffered an injury blow at full-back as James Wilson was forced off with a leg injury, bringing Ryan Lamb into play from the bench.

Lamb, not in the best form with the boot this season, might have been eyeing a few kicks as Myler, now at full-back, was struggling with the boot, fluffing another penalty chance on 64 minutes.

It was the fourth try that Saints desperately wanted and they were again denied by the TMO, who ruled that Hartley had not got over the line.

But they didn’t have to wait too long as Artemyev finished off a fine, flowing move and Lamb kicked a fine conversion after taking over tee duties from Myler.

Glasgow tried to get the losing bonus point their first 30 minute performance, at least, merited, but they couldn’t manage it as Saints opened with a gutsy victory.

Saints: Wilson (Lamb 57); K Pisi, G Pisi (May 72), Waldouck, Artemyev; Myler, Dickson (Roberts 74); Tonga’uiha (Waller 72), Hartley (Haywood 78), Mujati (Doran-Jones 67); Manoa (Sorenson 64), Lawes; Dowson, Wood, Oakley

Replacements: van Velze.

Glasgow: Hogg (Murchie 10); Seymour, Dunbar, Horne, Lamont (Gillies 67); Jackson (Matawalu 40), Pyrgos; Grant (Fainga’anuku 74), , Hall, Cusack; Swinson (Ryder 52), Kellock; Strauss, Barclay (Fusaro 57), Wilson.

Replacements: Reid, Eddie

Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)