Champions Cup – Pearson Bags Hat-Trick As Northampton Saints Run Riot


With a statement win, Northampton Saints became the first team to qualify for the Investec Champions Cup Round of 16 with a 61-14 mauling of Aviron Bayonnais.

The crowd at Cinch Stadium @ Franklin's Gardens were treated to 11 tries, 9 of them for the hosts, with flanker Tom Pearson getting three as Fin Smith converted all but one.

The TOP 14 side was made to endure a brutal first 40 minutes from the Gallagher Premiership leaders, who set the tone early when wing Tommy Freeman scored after just one minute, the first of six first-half tries.

Pearson then scored his first two on either side of a yellow card for Aviron Bayonnais prop Tevita Tatafu, while Courtney Lawes, hooker Curtis Langdon and prop Alex Waller also got over.

Smith kicked extras for all six tries, sending the impervious Northampton Saints in 42-0 to the good at the break.

But there was not to be much relief for Aviron Bayonnais in the second period.

Pearson picked up his hat-trick five minutes in after some impressive hands between himself and Freeman, who typified Northampton Saints’ extraordinary performance as he picked up the Man of the Match honour.

The hosts would add two more, as Waller grabbed his second and replacement Tom James also got over, but the visitors would not be completely shut out as Tom Spring and full-back Aurélien Callandret picked up tries, Thomas Dolhagaray added the extras.

The result puts Northampton Saints on 14 points, further solidifying their position at the top of Pool 3.

They will look to secure a home Round of 16 tie when they face Munster Rugby in Round 4, while Aviron Bayonnais will host Exeter Chiefs as they battle to stay in the competition.

Northampton Saints: Tries: Tommy Freeman, Tom Pearson (3), Courtney Lawes, Curtis Langdon, Alex Waller (2), Alex Waller, Tom James. Conversions: Fin Smith (8).
Aviron Bayonnais: Tries: Tom Spring, Aurélien Callandret. Conversions: Thomas Dolhagaray (2).