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Sports Betting - Rugby Union: Saints are more like sinners as punters are left confused.

Byline: Graham Woods

NORTHAMPTONhave been one of the most untrustworthy sides in the few weeks since the new rugby season started, writes Graham Woods. Taken apart by Leicester on the opening day, they then stood up to the mighty Bath pack to come away from the Rec with a win before folding at home to a moderate Newcastle side.

So what do we make of them? The win over Bath and last week's Powergen Cup victory over Worcester suggest the Saints may be better equipped to compete with sides boasting a powerhouse pack, but the key to Northampton's performance may be fly-half Carlos Spencer.

When he is given room and opportunity, as he was when Gloucester's Ludovic Mercier kicked the ball straight to him in a Premiership clash a fortnight ago, he can conjure up a scoring chance, in this case a perfect chip for Steve Thompson to chase down.

But Northampton backers may find, as the All Blacks selectors have done in the past, that the hugely talented Kiwi is just too unreliable - brilliant one week, anonymous the next - and if the whole team's performance rests on him, there are likely to be more frustrations than celebrations.

A points quote of 42-45 for today's Powergen Cup clash between Northampton and the Dragons looks low, but the Welsh visitors are not a free-scoring side, and who knows what mood Spencer will be in?

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2005
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