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Tom Wood relieved after Northampton take narrow Champions Cup win over Scarlets

Published 14/11/2015

Northampton flanker Tom Wood was relieved to escape with a win against Scarlets
Northampton flanker Tom Wood was relieved to escape with a win against Scarlets

Northampton flanker Tom Wood was a relieved man after his side held on for a nervy 15-11 win over Scarlets in their opening Champions Cup fixture.

Ken Pisi and Alex Waller scored tries for the Saints with JJ Hanrahan kicking a penalty and a conversion although Scarlets kept in touch - and were ahead at one point in the second half - throughout thanks to Steven Shingler's two penalties and Gareth Davies' score.

However, the visitors were left to rue four missed kicks at goal as they began Pool 3 with a narrow defeat.

Wood said: "We should have pulled clear earlier as we missed key opportunities.

"It was nail-biting and could easily have gone against us. We were lucky to get away with it but we showed a lot of fight although there's plenty to work on."

Northampton's cause was not helped by penalties with both George North and Jamie Gibson, with North's penalty costing a try after Luther Burrell had crossed.

"It was an arm wrestle but it's a cracking start for us," Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder said. "The incident with George North was the big moment, for if we had scored then we would have kicked on, but the referee got it right.

"It's far too early to be talking about winning the competition as we are in cracking pool. We have Glasgow away next, who beat us away last time and they will play like the Scarlets so we need to be strong in the set piece."

Having seen his side go ahead in the second half, Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac was left to rue one that got away.

"The game went backwards and forwards and we are very disappointed as we put in a lot of good work and it was very close," he said.

"However we made too many errors and need to tidy up when we are going forward. We are making headaway and will go away and lick our wounds as Racing Metro next week is now a massive game."

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