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Saints march into Europe after thriller at the Gardens

Ahsee Tuala scored the winning try for Saints Credit: PA Images

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder praised his team's powers of recovery to secure the final spot for next season's European Champions Cup.

Second half tries from Ben Foden and Ashee Tuala - the latter with the Saints down to thirteen men - helped them overturn a sixteen point deficit against Stade Francais to win 23-22.

The European Challenge Cup winners from Paris looked destined to snatch last night's play-off at Franklin's Gardens when Saints' skipper Tom Wood was dismissed.

Moments after Rory Hutchinson had been sinbinned, referee John Lacey ruled that Wood made contact with the head of Stade full back Djibril Camara in a ruck midway through the second half.

The decision incensed the home fans and their reaction seemed to inspire the Saints. Tuala's touchdown in the corner was followed by Harry Mallinder's conversion from the left hand touchline.

And despite their player advantage Stade Francais couldn't add to the points they scored before half time, including three tries.

Here's Jim Mallinder talking to ITV Angli's Donovan Blake after the game:

And Ben Foden:

Northampton Saints secure place in the Champions Cup

The Northampton Saints have secured their place in the Champions Cup. Credit: ITV News Central

The Northampton Saints have secured their place in the Champions Cup with a dramatic win against Stade Francais at Franklins Gardens.

They won the play-off final with a last minute try.

23 - 22 was the final score, meaning Saints will compete in the top flight of European rugby for a ninth successive season.

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New Debenhams boss unveils plans to close distribution centres

Debenhams Credit: PA

The new boss of department store chain Debenhams has unveiled plans to close its Lodge Farm distribution centre near Northampton along with 10 smaller in-house warehouses and put up to 10 stores under review.

The warehouse, operated by DHL, employs 220 staff and will shut in two years' time.

Debenhams say they hope to be able to redeploy many staff affected by the smaller warehouse closures.

Sergio Bucher, who took over as chief executive last October, outlined the overhaul that will see the group shut one of its three distribution centres.

Details of his plans came as the group announced a 6.4% drop in pre-tax profits to £87.8 million for the six months to March 4.

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Police re-appeal for missing 22-year-old

missing 22-year-old Natasha Stanley Credit: Northamptonshire Police

Northamptonshire Police are re-appealing for information about the whereabouts of missing 22-year-old Natasha Stanley.

Natasha was last seen on Tuesday, 14 March, at around 3pm in Billing Road, Northampton. It is possible that Natasha is likely to be in the London or Basingstoke area.

Natasha is 5ft 7in with short ginger hair. She was last seen wearing faded blue jeans, black Nike trainers, a dark blue T-short and a black hooded top. She has distinctive tattoos on the back of each hand.

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