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Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Stephen Myler misses penalty with last kick

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Myler miss is a kick in the teeth for Jim's beaten Saints

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UPDATED:

19:40 GMT, 30 December 2012

Stephen Myler and Northampton were left shattered in Milton Keynes as the fly-half’s last-minute, long-range penalty to win a pulsating game hit the crossbar and bounced out, giving Saracens a dramatic reprieve.

The Saints No 10 was presented with a shot for glory from his own half, with just seconds remaining, in controversial circumstances. Saracens prop Rhys Gill was penalised by referee JP Doyle for kicking the ball away from a ruck, when replays suggested that the ball was out and he was entitled to do so.

Then, some back-chat from one of the home players prompted the official to march forward 10 metres, leaving Northampton with a penalty on the limit of kicking range.

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Myler, who had already registered 11 points with the boot, took aim at the posts, some 57 metres away. He let fly and the ball soared towards the target, only to glance off the centre of the bar, allowing Brad Barritt to clear into the stands to clinch the narrow win which sees his side go into the new year second in the Aviva Premiership, one point behind champions and leaders Harlequins.

Back by the halfway line, Myler was left on his haunches, with his head in his hands. Jim Mallinder, Northampton’s director of rugby, turned and strode down the tunnel, frustrated by the agonising manner of this latest defeat against a top-four team and incensed by Doyle’s refereeing.

Afterwards, he said: ‘Should have won, could have won. If Stephen Myler had kicked that goal at the end, we’d all be in there now celebrating a great away victory.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think he could get it. I was definitely wondering if they had made the right decision but you have to leave it to the players. Stephen knows best if he has a realistic chance of kicking it or not. It was left up to him and I think he probably did make the right decision to go for it.’

In a tense final quarter, a few of Doyle’s decisions came in for close scrutiny, particularly a penalty awarded to Saracens at a ruck in the closing minutes. Ben Foden, the Saints and England full back, exploded with rage when the whistle sounded and vented his fury on the nearby touch judge. Mallinder, in slightly calmer fashion, echoed his sense of indignation.

‘The majority of the decisions early on were probably just, but the referee has got to be consistent,’ he said. ‘If he is going to penalise Dylan Hartley for going off his feet, quite rightly, then he has to do Barritt at the end of the game for the same offence. In the final 10 or 15 minutes, there was some decision-making by us which we’ll need to look at, and we’ll look at a couple of the referee’s decisions as well, because they can be the difference between winning and losing close games like that. He got a number of those decisions wrong today.’

For the first quarter of this game, it merely appeared a question of how many points Saracens would win by against their bitter rivals, whose supporters dominated the large festive crowd. The nomadic Hertfordshire club immediately appeared at home in a stadium where their opponents have staged matches in the past, and were ahead in the seventh minute.

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

From an attacking line-out on the left, George Kruis took a clean catch and the Saracens pack drove forward with great conviction, on and on over the line until John Smit touched down. Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion, but he was on target with an 11th-minute penalty and his side continued to dominate proceedings on the back of clear superiority in the scrum.

Yet, that set-piece advantage gradually faded as the Saints forwards rallied and in the 24th minute the visitors hit back.

From a scrum near halfway, Ken Pisi broke clear on the right, Courtney Lawes stormed on and when quick ball was delivered to Phil Dowson, the flanker burst through three tackles to score a try which Myler converted to make it 11-7.

Saracens retaliated with gusto to this renewed challenge and after David Strettle so nearly went clean through the middle in the Northampton 22, Will Fraser and Ernst Joubert drove strongly at the line but the ball went loose, Samu Manoa pounced on it and eventually a clearance kick by Lee Dickson alleviated the sustained pressure.

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Moments later, the scrum-half’s dart forward brought a penalty to the Saints which Myler struck to narrow the deficit to one point at the break. After half-time, the visitors’ No 10 maintained his assured goal-kicking to establish a 16-11 lead for his team, while Hodgson missed three successive shots at the other end. Owen Farrell, who had replaced Joel Tomkins at outside centre, took over kicking duties and calmly dispatched two successive penalties to push Saracens in front again and they clung on with a little help from the crossbar which denied Myler.

Mark McCall, Sarries’ director of rugby, was relieved by the outcome of that last-gasp kick, saying: ‘I felt the same as everyone else felt. It was out of our hands. We knew it was a very difficult kick. It was an unbelievable strike in fairness. He had his kicking boots on today, so we are grateful to have come away with a narrow victory.’

In a measured reaction to Doyle’s officiating, McCall added: ‘There are always going to be things that you are not happy about. There was some frustration in our side from time to time and I am surprised they (Northampton) feel as strongly as they do about it.’

This defeat for the Saints leaves them sixth in the Premiership table but Mallinder remained bullish about their prospects of mounting a convincing title challenge. ‘We know we’re a good side and today proved that,’ he said.

‘There’s not a lot between the top teams and although we’re now mid-table, we’re not out of the running, by any means. There are a few people who have written us off already but there’s a long way to go. We won’t give up, we’ll be back.’

Ulster 9 Northampton 10: Saints blow group wide open with tight win at Ravenhill

Ulster 9 Northampton 10: Van the man seals
Saints' stirring win

PUBLISHED:

21:22 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 15 December 2012

Northampton Saints produced a stirring defensive display to end Ulster's four-year unbeaten run at Ravenhill.

Northampton No 8 GJ Van Velze scored the game's only try as Jim Mallinder's side recovered from last week's humbling defeat to blow Pool Four wide open.

Not since 2008 had Ulster lost a European tie in Belfast but Ruan Pienaar missed a late winner as Saints held on. Northampton were facing the embarrassment of a second season without reaching the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition.

Ben Foden of Northampton takes on Paddy Jackson

Breaking free: Northamton's Ben Foden in action with Ulster's Paddy Jackson

Against last year's finalists,
unbeaten so far this season, Northampton threw everything into a
predictably physical opening and their abrasiveness and aggression saw
fly-half Stephen Myler land an early penalty.

With so many South Africans in
Ulster's ranks, it was little surprise that Saints No 8 Van Velze felt
as though he was at a home from home.

And the forward swatted aside Andrew
Trimble to touch down in the corner on 18 minutes. Myler added the
conversion to open a 10-0 lead that, in such a closely contested tie,
could prove decisive.

 Tom Court of Ulster is tackled by Lee Dickson

Crashing down: Saints pummeled the Ulster line after last week's embarrassing defeat

Against last year's finalists,
unbeaten so far this season, Northampton threw everything into a
predictably physical opening and their abrasiveness and aggression saw
fly-half Stephen Myler land an early penalty.

With so many South Africans in
Ulster's ranks, it was little surprise that Saints No 8 Van Velze felt
as though he was at a home from home.

And the forward swatted aside Andrew
Trimble to touch down in the corner on 18 minutes. Myler added the
conversion to open a 10-0 lead that, in such a closely contested tie,
could prove decisive.

Having been humbled at home last
week by the RaboDirect Pro12 leaders, Saints restricted Ulster
effectively and it was not until 31 minutes that Paddy Jackson finally
got on the scoreboard with his first penalty.

Northampton's Dylan Hartley (2nd L), Paul Doran Jones and Alex Waller (R) look dejected with team mates

Hard fought win: Northampton's Dylan Hartley (2nd left), Paul Doran Jones and Alex Waller (right)

Ulster's New Zealander Nick Williams
used his huge frame to break the visitors' line twice but lacked the
pace to finish and Ulster showed niether the patience nor the accuracy
to take advantage.

Jackson landed a second penalty and the Ulster fly-half's third kick drew the home side to within a point.

Saints centre Tom May fumbled a golden scoring chance when he failed to collect a delicate kick by Myler.

However, Ulster also had chances as Williams was held short and Rory Best and Craig Gilroy went close.

Even when Ulster looked certain to score after Myler's drop-goal was charged down, the Saints defence somehow survived.

Paddy Wallace broke clear and when he
passed to rising Ireland star Gilroy, a try appeared innevitable only
for Jamie Elliott to snuff out the danger.

The Saints wing came up trumps again
three minutes from time to deny Tommy Bowe, who was carried off with a
serious knee injury. The delay may have distracted Pienaar, who pushed
his penalty wide.

Heineken Cup 2012: Northampton Saints 24 Glasgow Warriors 15

Northampton 24 Glasgow 15: Saints come from behind to snatch winning start

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UPDATED:

14:21 GMT, 14 October 2012

Northampton survived a major scare at Franklin's Gardens before launching their Heineken Cup campaign in bonus point fashion.

The Saints, tournament runners-up to Leinster in 2010, trailed 15-0 before they turned the Pool Four clash on its head through three tries in six minutes either side of half-time.

Centre George Pisi touched down twice, while fly-half Stephen Myler's try just after the break nudged Northampton ahead for the first time before wing Vasily Artemyev's late effort sealed it.

Just about: George Pisi touched down twice to help seal victory for the Saints

Just about: George Pisi touched down twice to help seal victory for the Saints

Myler and Ryan Lamb each booted a conversion to help wipe out an alarming deficit as Saints conceded tries to Glasgow flanker Josh Strauss and wing Sean Lamont after centre Peter Horne kicked an early penalty and converted Strauss' try.

Myler, though, missed four shots at goal that could easily have proved costly, and there is a lot for Saints to work on before they tackle Castres in France next Friday night.

Glasgow did not even gain the consolation of a losing bonus point, but they will feel that should have been the minimum return from their journey south.

Their forwards' appetite for physical contact – epitomised by Strauss and skipper Al Kellock – at times rocked Saints on their heels, and it took all the Aviva Premiership leaders' poise to retrieve the situation.

But rugby director Jim Mallinder will know that long spells of Saints' performance were below-par, with the Castres trip likely to be a key fixture in their European campaign.

Breakaway: Samu Manoa leads the charge against Glasgow in the teams' Heineken Cup opener

Breakaway: Samu Manoa leads the charge against Glasgow in the teams' Heineken Cup opener

Breakaway: Samu Manoa leads the charge against Glasgow in the teams' Heineken Cup opener

England hooker Dylan Hartley returned to skipper Northampton after recovering from an eye injury as Saints targeted making an immediate statement of their European ambitions two years after reaching the final.

England coaching trio Stuart Lancaster, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree were among the onlookers, together with Scotland boss Andy Robinson and his assistant Scott Johnson, as both countries continued formulating plans ahead of next month's autumn Tests.

Glasgow, eager to show Scottish rugby in a far more promising light than Edinburgh following their 45-0 home defeat against Saracens on Saturday, dominated early territory and possession.

But after hardly seeing the ball for 10 minutes, Northampton almost struck an opening scoring blow when wing Ken Pisi sprinted clear from inside his own 22. Gloucester, though, had enough defensive numbers to thwart the danger.

Ken Pisi was involved with Saints' next scoring opportunity after Glasgow went in front through a Horne penalty, but this time he could not ground the ball under pressure from a superb Lamont tackle.

And Glasgow stormed back upfield, launching a succession of drives deep inside Saints' 22 that ended with Strauss touching down. Horne converted, and Northampton had it all to do, 10-0 adrift.

Northampton were visibly frustrated at their failure to finish chances, and matters deteriorated eight minutes later when more impressive work by Glasgow's forwards and some slick passing from their backs ended with ex-Saints player Lamont powering over.

Scare: The Saints were trailing by 15 points before battling back to steal the win

Scare: The Saints were trailing by 15 points before battling back to steal the win

Horne could not add the touchline conversion, but Glasgow's 15-point advantage stunned the home crowd during a half the visitors looked to end by pushing for another try.

But Northampton dug deep when they had to, stunning Glasgow with two tries during first-half injury time.

George Pisi's opener came after his slashing midfield break sparked a period of concerted attacking pressure, then he finished off superb approach work from his brother Ken as Glasgow's defence found itself scattered to all parts.

Myler converted Pisi's second try, and Saints trooped off just three points adrift when it could have been so much worse.

Glasgow were forced into making an interval change when fly-half Ruaridh Jackson, who suffered a knock during the opening 40 minutes, was replaced by Niko Matawalu, with Horne switching to number 10 duties.

But they were powerless to halt increasing Northampton momentum, which was emphasised by a 45th-minute charge from prop Soane Tonga'uiha that created a platform for Myler to score.

It was an impressive revival by Saints as Glasgow, for the first time in an entertaining contest, were forced to find answers to some serious questions.

And when Artemyev sprinted over six minutes from the end of normal time, there was no way back for the visitors, although they could yet have a considerable say in the outcome of a group that also includes Castres and Ulster.

Warrington 18 Leeds 26: Sinfield claims sixth ring after Rhinos punish sloppy Wolves

Warrington 18 Leeds 26: Sinfield claims sixth ring after Rhinos punish sloppy Wolves

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UPDATED:

18:53 GMT, 6 October 2012

Rhinos talisman Kevin Sinfield saw stars after a sickening collision but regained his composure to lift the Super League trophy for the sixth time as underdogs Leeds denied Warrington the double.

More to follow

Fireworks: The players walk out at Old Trafford

Fireworks: The players walk out at Old Trafford

Going over: Warrington's Joel Monaghan evades the challenge of Ryan Hall to score second try

Going over: Warrington's Joel Monaghan evades the challenge of Ryan Hall to score second try

High ball: Chris Riley of Warrington Wolves

High ball: Chris Riley of Warrington Wolves

My word: Wolves' Richard Myler dives over to score his side's opening try

My word: Wolves' Richard Myler dives over to score his side's opening try

Big Ben: Jones-Bishop scores second try for Leeds

Big Ben: Jones-Bishop scores second try for Leeds

Northampton 24 Wasps 6: James Wilson sends Saints top

Northampton 24 Wasps 6: Wilson sends Saints top after fifth straight home victory

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 28 September 2012

New Zealander James Wilson scored his first two tries for Northampton as they made it five wins out of five at Franklin's Gardens to move to the top of the Aviva Premiership.

Wilson's double plus 14 points from the boot of Stephen Myler eased the Saints past a Wasps side who had dominated possession in the first half.

It could have been worse for Wasps as Tim Payne was lucky not to receive a red card after television match official Trevor Fisher was called upon by referee Dave Pearson. Replays showed the England loosehead dropping a knee on Vasily Artemyev in a ruck, but he was given just 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

No way through: Northampton's Luther Burrell (left) is tackled by Wasps' Nick Robinson

No way through: Northampton's Luther Burrell (left) is tackled by Wasps' Nick Robinson

Wasps, who have not won at Franklin's Gardens since November 2005, also saw wing James Bailey – a summer signing from Lyon – carried off on a stretcher with a broken leg 17 minutes into his first start for the club.

The two incidents hampered Wasps' efforts to break a well-drilled Northampton defence and, despite keeping the ball for large chunks of the opening 40 minutes, they turned around 14-6 down.

After five minutes of solid defending, Northampton scored with their first attack and it took just two passes. A poor kick landed in Wilson's lap on his 10m line. He passed to Ken Pisi, who burst through the Wasps line and then passed back to Wilson for the full-back to run over unopposed from 20 metres. Myler missed the conversion and a penalty, but at the third attempt made it 8-0 after 12 minutes.

Nicky Robinson got Wasps on the scoreboard with a penalty after a burst from Christian Wade had got the visitors into Northampton's 22. But Wasps were dealt a blow when Bailey was carried off on a stretcher.

It did not put them off their stride as they continued to dominate possession and a 15m lineout drive gave Robinson another three points.

Myler replied with three of his own, though, and – after Northampton lock Samoa Manoa showed his side-stepping abilities to nip past a couple of Wasps tacklers – the fly-half made it 14-6.

Putting the boot in: Stephen Myler of Northampton kicks a penalty at Franklin's Gardens

Putting the boot in: Stephen Myler of Northampton kicks a penalty at Franklin's Gardens

On the stroke of half-time Payne was
sent to the sin-bin after the TMO was called on. Replays showed Payne
dropping his knee on Artemyev and the home crowd were furious the
England loosehead did not receive a red card.

With
Wasps a man down Northampton went for the kill but twice Artemyev, now
with his head bandaged, could not gather offloads inches from the
try-line and Soane Tonga'uiha could not quite reach the line after
charging out of a ruck five metres from the line.

The visitors did well to survive the 10 minutes, although Payne's return did not alter the course of the second half. It was all Northampton.

Northampton lock Christian Day became the second player to be carried off on a stretcher on 55 minutes with his right lower leg strapped up, but it did not stop the hosts' momentum.

And a minute later Wilson squirmed over for his second despite being seemingly stopped on the line by James Haskell and Andrea Masi after a powerful run and offload from Saints centre Luther Burrell.
Worryingly for England and Northampton, Courtney Lawes then limped off and Dylan Hartley came off with some sort of blow to the head.

But Northampton were able to bring Brian Mujati off the bench and the South African tore Wasps' scrum to pieces, winning penalty after penalty to give the home side control as they maintained their impressive start to the season.

Bath 14 Northampton 18: Match report

Bath 14 Northampton 18: Foden KO but Saints go top after win

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 14 September 2012

Stephen Myler kicked five penalties as Northampton made it three wins out of three in the Aviva Premiership.

But their second away win of the campaign was achieved at the cost of a nasty looking ankle injury to England's Ben Foden in the second half.

His replacement, Tom May, wrapped things up with a drop goal four minutes from time.

Wining feeling: Lee Dickson celebrates with team-mate Luther Burrell after their victory

Wining feeling: Lee Dickson celebrates with team-mate Luther Burrell after their victory

The only try of the game came after just 70 seconds through Nick Abendanon but Bath were again reliant on the goal-kicking of Olly Barkley, who landed three penalties.

Danger man Kyle Eastmond received only one pass on the right wing.

Scottish international flanker Simon Taylor, one of the most effective performers against Wasps six days earlier, arrived at the Rec straight from the hospital where his wife gave birth to their second child only hours before kick-off.

There were only two changes in the home line-up, Paul James coming in at loosehead prop and youngster Ben Williams replacing the injured Matt Banahan at inside centre.

Myler was preferred to Ryan Lamb at fly-half for Northampton but they were without centre George Pisi and tighthead Brian Mujati with leg injuries and also No 8 GJ van Velze who was serving a four-week ban.

Injury: Ben Foden receives attention to an ankle injury

Injury: Ben Foden receives attention to an ankle injury

Luther Burrell came into the back line and Tom Mercey joined the front row.
Saints were caught cold after barely a minute. Dan Hipkiss set up a ruck and Bath opened up the blindside for Tom Biggs to slip a deft grubber into the path of Abendanon who scored unopposed in the corner.

Hobbling off: Foden leaves the pitch on crutches after injuring his right ankle

Hobbling off: Foden leaves the pitch on crutches after injuring his right ankle

Barkley was wide with the conversion, his first miss out of 15 kicks this season.

A driving maul from the line-out forced a penalty which allowed Myler to kick for Saints on seven minutes but the fly-half's sliced clearance from the restart was not so composed.

Bath again used Hipkiss to take the ball up and Barkley slotted the resulting penalty.
Much of the next 10 minutes were spent trotting from line-out to line-out under the main stand as both sides sought territory.

Myler again narrowed the deficit to two points with a 35-metre kick on the quarter hour and put his side ahead for the first time with a 21st minute penalty after Ben Skirving infringed at a ruck.

Bath, although looking far more aggressive in the loose this season under new head coach Gary Gold, gave away a string of penalties, including one for dissent against Michael Claassens.

Abendanon made up for a spilled catch by immediately making a clearance on the other side of the field but Northampton continued to look the more composed side.

Yet another ruck offence by the home team just before the break was punished by Myler with his fourth penalty and Barkley hit the post with a 38-metre effort on the half-time whistle.

Stop there: Dominic Waldouck is tackled by Bath's Dan Hipkiss

Stop there: Dominic Waldouck is tackled by Bath's Dan Hipkiss

Bath replaced skipper Stuart Hooper with Dave Attwood early in the second half and the greater ballast helped win a penalty at the first scrum.

But it was Saints who injected real pace and urgency into the game away from the set-piece.

Unfortunately they lost Foden to an ankle injury following a man-and-ball tackle by Biggs who then saved a certain try but at the cost of a knock-on as he went for an intercept.

Myler added a fifth penalty for a scrum offence but that was quickly cancelled out by Barkley's boot at the other end after Tom May's kick was charged down.

Jumping highest: Dominic Day of Bath wins the lineout ball

Jumping highest: Dominic Day of Bath wins the lineout ball

When the Saints scrum folded again under pressure from the Bath eight, Barkley was on target again from 45 metres on the hour to pull the home side back to 15-14 down but Myler then missed from a similar distance.

The loss of Foden appeared to have taken much of the sting out of the visitors' attack but Barkley missed a chance to regain the lead, the ball dipping under the bar from nearly halfway.

Saints nearly grabbed a try when Barkley's clearance was charged down by Samu Manoa.

The lock regathered to feed Wood but the Bath defence scrambled back to deny the England flanker a try.

May then extended the lead to four points with a drop goal, leaving Bath four minutes to find a try to sneak victory but Saints held on and the home side had to be content with a losing bonus point.

Warrington stand-off Lee Briers aims to play his winning hand at Wembley

Warrington stand-off Briers aims to play his winning hand

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UPDATED:

20:09 GMT, 24 August 2012

When Lee Briers walks out at Wembley on Saturday, the Warrington stand-off will take a breath, remember his three
biggest loves and then throw everything into honouring all of them.

Briers exudes passion. He has been
one of British rugby league's most talented stars since breaking into
the St Helens team as a precocious teenager in 1997, and now, in the
twilight of his career, has finally started to win the trophies his
talents deserve.

Stand-off and deliver: Briers is ready to perform at Wembley

Stand-off and deliver: Briers is ready to perform at Wembley

Life for Briers boils down to three main pleasures: rugby league, winning, and his children Sophie, 14, and Reece, nine. But having turned 34 and claimed two Challenge Cup winners' medals, how does he keep motivated

'It's the love of the game, and it always has been; nothing else matters,' he told Sportsmail. 'The wages pay your bills, but the money's never been a factor.

'I didn't start when I was four to get paid; it was because I loved it. I'm passionate about the game. Not only about playing it, but about how it's run and other things, too.'

HOW THEY LINE UP

Leeds: Z Hardaker; B Jones-Bishop, K Watkins, C Ablett, R Hall; K Sinfield (capt), S Ward; K Leuluai, R Burrow, J Peacock, J Jones-Buchanan, B Delaney, R Bailey. Subs: D Griffin, C Clarkson, I Kirke, S Lunt.

Warrington: B Hodgson; C Riley, R Atkins, S Ratchford, J Monaghan; L Briers, R Myler; G Carvell, M Higham, C Hill, T Waterhouse, B Westwood, B Harrison. Subs: A Morley (capt), M Monaghan, P Wood, T McCarthy.

Referee: Richard Silverwood.

TV: LIVE on BBC1 from 2pm
(kick-off 2.30).

While Briers can appear carefree, he is undoubtedly driven. Winning has always been his focus – he plays golf off 11, 'but hopefully next year I'll get down to single figures' – although he is prepared to make one exception.

On the eve of the 2010 Challenge Cup final, a repeat of the clash with Leeds that saw Warrington emerge comfortable winners, he played cards with his team-mates.

He lost, and they teased him mercilessly on the morning of the game. He responded by promising to win the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match – a promise he made good just hours later.

Will he play cards again this year 'For sure.' Will he win 'No. But if it happens that way again, I'm more than happy to lose a couple of grand, even though I always want to win at everything.'

That relaxed attitude comes from the confidence of knowing he has finally mastered his trade. Where once he was the unpredictable wild man of Super League, he is now a model of consistency.

He remains unpredictable, only in terms of his instinctive brilliance on the pitch. Warrington coach Tony Smith said: 'He's calmed down, but I'm not going to take credit for that. Vicky, his partner, has been very, very good for him.

'As we get older and get more responsibilities, we all get a better balance in life – and that allows him to play better rugby league.

5 Things to watch out for.jpg

'I'm often credited with something I've little control over. It's down to Lee and his family more than anything.'

Briers adds: 'I had to evolve. I've been going 16 or 17 years and the game has totally changed, not once but probably two or three times. You have to change with the times. It's been tough sometimes, but I've always had the right people around me.'

Saturday's opponents Leeds Rhinos start as massive underdogs but Briers remains on red alert. 'If we write them off, we'll get murdered. They're a quality side and Super League champions.

'People keep saying we're favourites, but I don't believe that bulls***. It's a final.

'We were doing awfully in the league when we beat Huddersfield in 2009. Form goes out of the window.'

He adds: 'I get nervous playing cards so I'll definitely be nervous in front of 70,000, but that's part of it. You've got to have nerves to play on the edge. It brings the best out of you.'

London 62 Warrington 18

London 62 Warrington 18: Dorn shreds Wolves but Rea insists he's still just a quick fix

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UPDATED:

23:17 GMT, 17 August 2012

Tony Rea insisted he still intends to head back to Australia at the end of the season despite his continuing inspiration of resurgent London.

Broncos chairman David Hughes drafted in Rea as coach for the last seven matches of the season after sacking former boss Rob Powell, who had overseen two wins in 20 games.

Rea has now recorded three wins on the bounce, with this 10-try romp wrecking Warrington’s Challenge Cup final preparations and all but killing off their hopes of reclaiming the League Leaders’ Shield.

Hot to handle: Luke Dorn on the move

Hot to handle: Luke Dorn on the move

But Rea said: ‘I wouldn’t react to one
performance. The coaching bug is inside you but the (planned) course is
still the same as it always was.’

Four-try hero Luke Dorn was the
Broncos’ star on Friday night, with his second touchdown making him the
first player to score 100 times for London.

Rea added: ‘We’ve been building on a couple of things. We want to make sure it’s ourselves that control what we want to do.

‘Warrington were in red hot form but
our focus has been about us. We wanted to find out what we’re about and
keep building on a couple of things from the last few games.’

Three London-born players scored as
the hosts established a 24-18 half-time lead at the Twickenham Stoop,
with Kieran Dixon’s second-minute try giving the Broncos a dream start.

Over the line: Michael Robertson of Broncos scores a try

Over the line: Michael Robertson of Broncos scores a try

Will Lovell and Omari Caro also
crossed to complement Dorn’s first score, with Richie Myler, Stefan
Ratchford and Rhys Williams getting over for the Wolves.

But that was as good as it got for Warrington, who must regroup ahead of next week’s Challenge Cup final showdown against Leeds.

Wolves boss Tony Smith said: ‘It’s far
from the end of the world, even if it feels like you’re looking over
the edge of it. We’ll dust ourselves off pretty quickly and learn plenty
of lessons.

‘We put out a talented enough team to perform better than we did, and that comes back to me.’

Michael Robertson’s brace sandwiched Julien Rinaldi’s try and three more for Dorn as the Broncos cut loose after the break.

I'm the one: Julien Rinaldi of Broncos celebrates scoring

I'm the one: Julien Rinaldi of Broncos celebrates scoring

St Helens 12 Warrington 22 – match report

St Helens 12 Warrington 22: Wolves end rotten run at Saints to all but secure top two

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UPDATED:

21:22 GMT, 6 August 2012

Warrington effectively wrapped up a top-two finish and kept the pressure on Stobart Super League leaders Wigan with a first win in St Helens since 1994.

The Wolves could not manage a win in 15 years of trying at Saints' old Knowsley Road ground but enjoyed their first visit to Langtree Park as they cruised to only a fourth win in 42 meetings with St Helens in the Super League era.

Old maestros Brett Hodson and Lee Briers were the architects of an impressive Warrington performance that enabled them to open up a five-point gap on their derby rivals and move to within three of Wigan, their next opponents.

Try and you will succeed: Chris Riley helped end Warrington's hopeless run at Saints

Try and you will succeed: Chris Riley helped end Warrington's hopeless run at Saints

Saints went into the game on the back of an unbeaten seven-match run going back to May but they were always second best against opponents running into form at the right time.

Double-chasing Warrington, who have now won their last five games, lived up to their reputation as quick starters as they made the most of Tommy Makinson's enforced goal-line drop-out inside the first minute.

Half-backs Richie Myler and Briers worked the ball out wide for Hodgson to scythe through for the opening try and it was 10-0 on seven minutes after prop Chris Hill picked up a loose ball to touch down.

Saints simply had no answer to the pinpoint kicking of Briers and, had Joel Monaghan's 15th minute try been allowed to stand, they would surely have been out of sight by then.

But video referee Phil Bentham ruled the Australian winger had lost control of the ball in claiming Briers' high kick and the home side made the most of the let-off to claw their way back into the game, aided by a string of penalties.

They missed a glorious opportunity when Francis Meli broke down the left wing only to see Jonny Lomax spill the final pass – but centre Michael Shenton got over the line midway through the first half when he took Paul Wellens' pass to twist and turn his way through a series of attempted tackles and touch down.

Makinson's conversion cut the gap to 10-6, which is how it remained up to half-time, but the Wolves restored their 10-point advantage within three minutes of the restart and went on to dominate the second half.

Second rower Trent Waterhouse timed his burst to perfection to run onto Hodgson's short pass and score his side's third try, with Hodgson kicking his second goal.

The visitors were denied another try when slow-motion replays indicated winger Chris Riley had put a foot in touch but it only delayed the inevitable.

A desperate tackle by St Helens stand-off Lance Hohaia denied Myler a long-range try and Riley had another effort disallowed for a forward pass but he finally got his reward when he picked up a looping pass from Ryan Atkins to go over on 62 minutes.

Hodgson kicked his third goal but St Helens gained some consolation when Wellens supported a break by substitute Mark Flanagan to score his side's second try six minutes from the end.

Makinson kicked his second goal but Warrington were still attacking at the end and Briers was the latest player to have a try disallowed.

Exeter 15 Northampton 18

Exeter 15 Northampton 18: Saints stay into contention for play-offs with narrow win

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UPDATED:

15:44 GMT, 22 April 2012

Northampton moved in to fourth place in the Aviva Premiership table thanks to two second half tries as they ended Exeter's run of four league wins in a row.

It means the final place in the end of season play-offs will be decided on the last day of the regular season – Saturday, May 5 – when Saints host Worcester Warriors and Exeter are away to Saracens.

Chris Ashton and Paul Diggin were Northampton's try-scorers, with Stephen Myler adding a conversion and two penalties.

Al smiles: Paul Diggin celebrates his winning try with Chris Ashton (right)

Al smiles: Paul Diggin celebrates his winning try with Chris Ashton (right)

Exeter also crossed the line twice, scoring first and last through Gonzalo Camacho and Richard Baxter, with five points from the boot of Ignacio Mieres.

Exeter were led out by number eight Baxter on his 350th league appearance for the Devon side, with Phil Dolman switched to full-back and Jason Shoemark coming in at centre.

Northampton made two changes from the defeat to Leicester which cost them a top-four place last week, with Myler replacing Ryan Lamb at fly-half and Mark Sorenson in for Samu Manoa in the second row.

The Saints made a strong start and the visitors got the first points on the board after five minutes with fly-half Myler landing a 23-metre penalty.

But the Chiefs hit back immediately with scrum-half Haydn Thomas taking a quick tap penalty and finding Camacho.

The winger stretched for the line but referee Andrew Small referred the decision to TMO Geoff Warren, who awarded the Argentina international his second try of the season. Countryman Mieres added the extras.

Saints again applied pressure on the Chiefs half but this was short lived and the home side were quickly back up the other end to batter the visitors line before Mieres added a simple penalty midway through the half.

Myler and Mieres were both wide of the target with penalty attempts before the Chiefs had a try turned down from the TMO after prop Ben Moon had knocked on over the line.

Exeter went in to the break 10-3 ahead. The Saints started the second half strongly with some good passing amongst the backs helping Ashton over in the corner. Myler was again off target with the conversion, as was Mieres with a 40-metre penalty attempt.

The Chiefs struggled with their own lineouts and, with the rain making way for the sun as the game went in to the final quarter, Myler landed his second penalty to out the Saints back in to the lead.

With five minutes left on the clock the Saints won a strike against the head at a 22-metre scrum, allowing wing Diggin to go over in the corner with Myler adding the extras to deny the Chiefs a losing bonus point.

But Exeter, knowing that they needed to score twice, kept battling away and were rewarded with their second try as Shoemark burst clear and Baxter picked up at the back of a scrum to score his second try of the season.