It is not supposed to be like this. No relegation is meant to leave those losers languishing at the bottom of the table with nothing to play for. No jeopardy, no point.
Nobody told Gloucester. The Premiership’s 10th-placed team journeyed to the lair of a side one win away from the play-offs and administered a royal spanking that may have put paid to Northampton’s hopes of finishing in the top four. Professional athletes always want to win, it turns out.
Just as perplexing, でも, was the abject form of the Saints after their invigorating display to win at local rivals Leicester in the previous round. They could find no energy and no accuracy, their set-piece dismantled and their handling all over the place.
Worse, they lost Dan Biggar in the first half to a brain injury, which we must hope will not have any impact on his Lions tour. 代わりに, it was the Welsh Lion on the other side, Louis Rees-Zammit, who set proceedings in motion, scoring the first and last of Gloucester’s four tries.
Warren Gatland was watching but will not have liked what he saw at the end of the first quarter. A horrible collision between Biggar and Billy Twelvetrees, as both slid across the sodden turf after a loose ball, left the Welshman sprawled on the turf and possibly out cold.
In the end he was up and about and apparently lucid, but he failed the head injury assessment. If Northampton were looking out of sorts, the loss of their fly-half did nothing to lift the fug.
By then they were already in trouble, Rees-Zammit’s opening try having just opened up a 10-0 lead for the visitors. To say they have nothing to play for might be overstating the situation; a place in the top eight should be good enough for Europe next season and this win takes them to within three points of Leicester, who currently hold that position.
Rees-Zammit reassured Gatland of his class, finishing with deadly speed for the one highlight of the first half, Gloucester’s first try. A beautiful inside ball by Mark Atkinson released Santiago Carreras, who put his fellow winger away. Gloucester rode that 10-0 lead to the break before extending it a few minutes into the second half.
George Furbank, now at fly-half for Biggar, tried an audacious cross-kick in his own 22 that was bound to fail on a day like this for Northampton. サインは、各働く女の子がただ取る必要があることを意味しました, the excellent Jordy Reid grabbed it for Gloucester and Twelvetrees and Carreras sent Ed Slater off on a gallop to the line.
Twelvetrees missed the conversion, but landed the second of his three successful penalties a few minutes later, and Jack Singleton finished a lineout and drive for Gloucester’s third just before the hour.
Then Rees-Zammit claimed his second just past it. He brought up the bonus point in rather less imperious fashion than he had scored his first, taking advantage of Matt Proctor’s fumble of a box kick. His try sparked a brawl for no obvious reason, with both sides losing a player to the sin bin.
Three minutes later Gloucester were reduced to 13 when Tom Seabrook joined them for a deliberate knock-on.
Only then did Northampton manage to score some points, Henry Taylor nipping over after an attacking lineout. But by then the score was 28-0, and it was Northampton who had nothing to play for.