Ribbans at the double as Saints sink Bath

David Ribbans scored twice for Saints (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
David Ribbans scored twice for Saints (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

David Ribbans grabbed a double as Saints smashed Bath's winning start to pieces at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night.

Jim Mallinder's men produced a fantastic performance as they bagged a bonus-point 24-6 win to back up the previous Saturday's 24-11 success against Leicester Tigers.

Courtney Lawes, captaining Saints for the first time, got the scoring started inside the first five minutes and Ribbans registered either side of the break.

George North put finishing touches to the dominant display as he dived over four minutes from time to make sure it was a maximum haul.

Saints have now won both matches since their opening-day defeat to Saracens and Mallinder's men will aim to make it three wins in a row at London Irish next weekend.

Lawes led from the front against Bath as he stretched out a hand to score early on, finishing a fine move that encompassed key contributions from Michael Paterson and Tom Collins.

Harry Mallinder missed the conversion and despite his team's strong start, the fly-half wasn't having it all his own way, with his eagerness to kick attracting the ire of the home fans.

Bath had battled hard to get a foothold in the game and after referee Tom Foley awarded a harsh penalty against Teimana Harrison, Rhys Priestland claimed the three points.

Saints were finding it difficult to get the territory they craved, with Bath's linespeed penning them in their own half.

Mallinder was struggling to control the game and after he knocked on while trying to claim a high ball, Bath used the resulting scrum to claim another penalty.

Priestland landed it to put his team ahead for the first time and the teams then traded scrum penalties in what was a real nip and tuck first period.

With two minutes of the half remaining, Saints secured a penalty and kicked to the corner in pursuit of a timely try.

And they were to get it as a huge lineout drive, roared on by the home fans, resulted in Ribbans finding space to crash over for the score.

Mallinder held his nerve to land the conversion with aplomb, ensuring Saints would end the first 40 minutes with a 12-6 lead.

Saints tried to turn up the heat further at the start of the second half, knocking loudly on the Bath door.

The white wall stood firm for a prolonged period, but Saints eventually knocked it down as Ribbans again powered over to grab his second score of the night.

Mallinder missed the conversion, but Bath were struggling to get any momentum, with their lineout causing them real problems.

Saints were showing real brutality in the tackle, blasting Bath back at every opportunity.

The home side were desperately seeking the bonus-point score that their committed play deserved.

And Bath were reduced to 14 men as they were unable to bring on cover for injured flanker Sam Underhill.

It didn't take long for Saints to capitalise as another relentless spell of pressure resulted in North diving over in delight.

Mallinder converted to put the icing on the cake and Saints continued to push until the end as Bath weren't given an inch in a tough 80 minutes for the away team.

Saints: Tuala (Foden 66); North, Horne, Burrell, Collins; Mallinder, Groom (Reinach 74); Waller (Ma'afu 63), Haywood, Hill (Brookes 54); Paterson (Day 66), Ribbans; Lawes (c), Gibson, Harrison (Ludlam 66).

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Tapuai (Clark 57), Banahan; Priestland (Burns 67), Fotuali'i (Allinson 30); Obano (Auterac 54), Dunn (Walker 54), Perenise (Andrews 67); Ewels, Stooke; Garvey (c), Underhill (Grant 68), Faletau.

Referee: Tom Foley

George North grabbed the bonus-point score

George North grabbed the bonus-point score

Michael Paterson impressed in the second row

Michael Paterson impressed in the second row

Former Saints scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i was forced off with an injury during the first half

Former Saints scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i was forced off with an injury during the first half