Northampton moved to third place in the Aviva Premiership with a 22-13 defeat of Bath Saturday at Franklin’s Gardens.
Northampton ran out to a 22-3 lead in the first half and seemed poised to blow Bath out, but Bath came back with a try and a penalty to make a game of it.
USA hooker Chris Biller was on the bench for Bath, but was not used. USA lock/No. 8 Samu Manoa came on in the second half for Northampton, and was hit with a yellow card 21 minutes in. A minute later Northampton got their second yellow, and it was while they were down two men that the Saints gave up their try.
It's 100 for Mike MacDonald as he prepares to lead Leeds against Doncaster December 26.
Mike MacDonald joined Leeds in 2006 and has made 83 appearances in the starting line up and a further 16 off the bench. Earlier this year he became the most capped player of all time for the USA (and the record0holder for most World Cup appearances), and this weekend, as he captains Leeds against the Knights on Boxing Day, he becomes the seventh player to play 100 matches for Leeds.
MacDonald follows in the footsteps of Mike Shelley (209), Rob Rawlinson (163), Tom Palmer (152), Mark Luffman (127, Rhys Oakley (107) and Kearnan Myall (104).
Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made two enforced changes to the side that defeated Cornish Pirates in their last outing in the Championship. Scott Freer comes in at hooker for Andy Titterrell, who has joined Aviva Premiership side Sale on loan. The two players that moved in the opposite direction as part of that deal, Will Cliff and Jordan Davies, are among the replacements for the game at Doncaster. Whilst centre Joe Barker is ruled out as a precaution after suffering a minor groin injury recently, Scott Barrow comes in at centre.
Also on the bench, Phil Nilsen is back available after his two game suspension and Sam Lockwood returns in place of Cameron Zeiss.
The squad in full is: 15. Tommy Bell 14. Michael Stephenson 13. Iain Thornley 12. Scott Barrow 11. Pete Lucock 10. Joe Ford 9. Craig Hampson 1. Mike MacDonald 2. Scott Freer 3. Kane Palma-Newport 4. Dan Hemingway 5. Sean Hohneck 6. Ryan Burrows 7. Jacob Rowan 8. Danny Paul
16. Phil Nilsen 17. Sam Lockwood 18. Mo Mustafa 19. Tom Denton 20. Richard Beck 21. Will Cliff 22. Jordan Davies
Northampton Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder took a bit of a flyer in starting Samu Manoa at No. 8 for the Saints these last two weeks.
Now he’s happy he did. The former SFGG star was Man of the Match Sunday against Castres in a 45-0 victory. The game was a big step forward for Manoa, who has made nine starts for Northampton and subbed on six other times. He scored his first try for the club a week ago, also against Castres.
“You never quite know how someone like Samu is going to fit in,” Mallinder told RUGBYMag.com. “When you looked at him playing in San Francisco it was obvious that he’s an athlete, you can see that. You could see the potential in him, but you don’t quite know how far he can go. For him to come in and play at Number 8 and to give a performance like he did against Castres is a massive credit to him.
“Overall Samu has settled in well here at Northampton. Obviously there was a bit of a culture shock for him, coming to England and having to adjust to a professional environment, but he’s integrated himself into the team and this has showed in his performances. But Samu has got a lot still to learn, he knows that, and we think that there is more to come from him in the future.”
Northampton crushed Castres 45-0 Sunday in European Cup action, behind a Man-of-the-Match effort from American No. 8 Samu Manoa.
Playing No. 8 for the second week in a row, Manoa has emerged as a monstrous force for the Saints, and led the club in a gritty performance.
“I’m happy to be at eight,” Manoa told RUGBYMag.com before the game. “I get to run the ball more. But I told the coaches, man, you can put me anywhere I’ll play for you. I don’t care.”
The 6-5 American is an easily-recognized figure in the 1,400-year-old town of 200,000, and performances like Sunday will only improve his standing among fans.
“Some people you’ll hear them talking ‘Oh that’s Samu, he plays for the Saints,’ and others will come up to you while you’re in line at the store and say ‘good game.’ I get a lot of ‘we’re really happy you’ve joined the Saints,’ stuff like that. It’s good feedback from the fans,” he explained.
He knows the fans are watching.
“Like my dad says, ‘you got to take care of yourself, practice hard, and play hard and hit hard. Everybody’s watching you, so you got to go hard.”
The Saints got two tries from Ben Foden, and tries from Vasily Artemyev (set up from a Manoa run and pass) Mikey Haywood and Greig Tonks. Steve Myler added four conversions and four penalties.
Northampton improves to 1-3 in the Heineken Cup Pool 1. They will not make the knockout rounds, but the result is a big shot in the arm for the club.
Video from Manoa's pre-European Cup interview with the club.
Chris Wyles and Saracens have to be celebrating after a tend 16-13 victory on the road against the Ospreys, improving the Watford club to 3-1 in the Heineken Cup Pool 5.
It was a tough match, made even tougher by a cruel penalty/yellow card decision that led to an Ospreys try.
But some tough Saracens defense held the game for them.
Also of interest: former USA prospect Hanno Dirksen, who played in the NA4 and also for the USA Selects, had some quality minutes for the Ospreys, whose Director of Rugby is, of course, former USA Head Coach Scott Johnson. USA lock Hayden Smith was not used by Saracens.
Also in Pool 5, Biarritz rescued their European campaign as they came back from a 12-0 deficit to beat Benetton Treviso 29-12. The victory put Biarritz at 2-2 and only two points behind Saracens thanks to four bonus points.
Your are currently browsing this site with Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).
Your current web browser must be updated to version 7 of Internet Explorer (IE7) to take advantage of all of template's capabilities.
Why should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7? Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer from the ground up, with better security, new capabilities, and a whole new interface. Many changes resulted from the feedback of millions of users who tested prerelease versions of the new browser.
The most compelling reason to upgrade is the improved security. The Internet of today is not the Internet of five years ago. There are dangers that simply didn't exist back in 2001, when Internet Explorer 6 was released to the world. Internet Explorer 7 makes surfing the web fundamentally safer by offering greater protection against viruses, spyware, and other online risks.
Get free downloads for Internet Explorer 7, including recommended updates as they become available. To download Internet Explorer 7 in the language of your choice, please visit the Internet Explorer 7 worldwide page.