SARACENS 28 SAINTS 24 As it happened

Tom Wood takes on Brad Barritt in another thrilling Premiership clash at Allianz Park © Getty Images

Match Report SARACENS 28 SAINTS 24 As it happened

Having trailed 28-10 after 53 minutes, a losing bonus point was a decent return for the Saints in this top of the table Aviva Premiership clash. It was almost, dramatically, so much more.

KO
Heck of a noise - as always - from the travellers in BG&G. Farrell gets the game underway...
SAR 0 SAINTS 0

1min
BOOM. First big hit of the afternoon already for Manoa on Brown. Saints did well clearing the kick off after a little sniping run from Foden. The hosts look to run it back and get a lineout just inside the Saints’ 10m line.
SAR 0 SAINTS 0

3mins
Dickson has sent up a pair of decent box kicks and on both occasions Elliott’s chase has also been excellent. On a third such occasion, Farrell kicks it back but Foden is super-smart and bides his time to slip a foot into the dead-ball area, taking play all the way back up to the half for a Saints scrum.
SAR 0 SAINTS 0

6mins
Superb stuff from Myler who gets to his own high ball and scoops it back on the Saints’ side. There was a tiny knock on though onto a Saracens player though and the hosts drive out a penalty from the scrum.
SAR 0 SAINTS 0

9mins
Saracens try. This time a Dickson box kick goes deeper and when Billy V returns it with interest, the hosts bide their time to create an overlap. Farrell slides one in behind expertly and it sits up nicely for Strettle to ground in the corner. Conversion is wide.
SAR 5 SAINTS 0

12mins
Elliott ducks to avoid the flying Strettle’s attempted tackle and when the forwards truck it up, Vunipola fails to roll away at the cost of a penalty.
SAR 5 SAINTS 0

13mins
Sarries wrap up a Saints drive that started well and win themselves a scrum. Try scorer Strettle’s game is over - looks like he took a bang to the head trying to bring down Elliott.
SAR 5 SAINTS 0

14mins
One scrum collapses for a reset, but at the second time of asking, referee Carley rewards Waller - up against Johnston - and Myler’s kick gets Saints on the board.
SAR 5 SAINTS 3

17mins
Good bit of work from Day, who snares Brits’ lineout and sets in motion another driving maul. This time Saracens can’t get to the ball and pull it down illegally. Myler clips his side into the Sarries 22 as the visitors start to get a foothold.
SAR 5 SAINTS 3

18mins
SAINTS TRY!! Who else but Samu Manoa is driving a tidal wave-like maul for the Saints?! It’s one that was well controlled after being driven towards touch, too. It goes over and while the try is given, the American isn’t adding to his tally. It’s a penalty try instead, which Myler converts.
SAR 5 SAINTS 10

20mins
All Saints at the minute. Sarries show good form with their own lineout drive but having initially ground out some good yardage, Saints get to the carrier and bag themselves a scrum.
SAR 5 SAINTS 10

22mins
Saracens try number two. North’s cute chip almost gets him in behind but Saracens sweep up and Brits leads the counter with an outstanding break. Plenty of men out wide on the overlap and while they almost butcher the move, Brown cuts inside Dickson and grounds.
SAR 10 SAINTS 10

22mins
Farrell converts, Saracens lead again. What a start to this game!
SAR 12 SAINTS 10

26mins
Momentum has swung again and Saracens batter their way close to the Saints’ line through Billy V. Another overlap looks to be developing but Burrell is rapid off the line to hit his man and with the ball slowed up, Saints then win a penalty.
SAR 12 SAINTS 10

28mins
Much like the rhythm of the game, the scrum battle has been swinging back and forth. This time it’s Saracens rewarded at the collapse but Farrell drags his penalty left.
SAR 12 SAINTS 10

31mins
CRUNCH. There have been some big hits so far in this game but none more so than Lawes’ humdinger on Farrell. It’s obviously affected the England fly half, who kicks out on the full and is then doubled over gasping for air.
SAR 12 SAINTS 10

32mins
Saints give away a penalty some 8m inside Saracens half, but Bosch rolls up and audaciously points to the sticks. Fair play to the Argentine for having a crack and it’s one heck of a kick to stretch the hosts’ lead.
SAR 15 SAINTS 10

35mins
Another Saracens penalty as Saints look to run it clear. They’re biding their time and going in for the ball at the right times and it’s Bosch again who nudges over a more modest 40m kick.
SAR 18 SAINTS 10

37mins
That’s an excellent box kick from De Kock as Saracens continue to get the little things right. Conceding absolutely no territory after that brief spell of dominance in which the Saints scored.
SAR 18 SAINTS 10

38mins
When Saints do make ground through some neat interplay, the good work is quickly undone as the ball is ripped in contact and Johnston sends Strettle haring upfield with a nice offload. Foden gets across to cover well but the penalty is drawn and Farrell increases the gap to 11 on the stroke of half-time.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

HT
Work to do for the Saints, not only on the scoreboard but in general. Saracens have bossed the breakdown thus far and while their time in visiting territory did yield a penalty try, they’ve not spent enough time in those dangerous areas of the pitch.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

40mins
Myler restarts, Saints now having to chase the game but with the wind at their tails. Farrell has succumbed to what looks like a leg injury and Hodgson is on for the second 40.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

41mins
Saints have stolen the restart back and have a good attacking platform to start on Saracens’ 22. They’re forced slightly backwards though and cough up another penalty on the floor, one Hodgson hooks to touch for just 10m.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

45mins
Quiet start to the second half - which obviously suites Saracens. They do concede a penalty as Saints get back on top at the scrum though and Myler finds touch 35m out.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

46mins
Birthday boy North gets his first chance to run and it’s a dangerous one, splintering the first up tacklers and then driving his legs to go another 10m. Just as Saints reach the danger zone though a loose pass ends the move.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

47mins
A bit of broken play for Saracens to have a run and after Mako V goes over halfway, Bosch sinks a good kick to touch to peg the visitors back.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

49mins
Saracens are doing all the attacking at the moment but Saints are going from side to side and covering pretty well. When Wyles joins the line his knock on kills the move but play is still inside the Saints’ 22.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

50mins
Big counter scrum from Saracens and while Dickson races clear from the base and up to halfway, they eventually turn the ball over for a penalty. Changes galore for the hosts - George, Stevens and Wigglesworth are on for Brits, Johnston and De Kock.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

52mins
Another Saracens penalty but as Saints go in at the side of a maul, Hodgson hits a rare wide from the tee. Mini let off.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

54mins
Changes for Saints now too, McMillan and Dickson departing for Haywood and Fotuali’i.
SAR 21 SAINTS 10

55mins
Saracens try. What looks like a chance for Saints to attack quickly ends as Pisi fumbles off his bootlaces and Sarries pounce. A couple of times they go close on the left and a third and final charge from Bosch gets the job done.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

57mins
Saints now two tries from even a losing bonus point here at Allianz Park. It’s been a tough afternoon so far and Day has limped off to be replaced by Dickinson. More changes for Sarries, too, Borthwick and Mako V off for Barrington and Sheriff.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

57mins
Change of props for Saints as well, Ethan and Denman for Alex and Ma’afu as the referee receives running repairs on his radio.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

59mins
Saints are back in the Saracens 22 after what seems like a long time and there in a bit of a rush, too. It shows as Haywood’s lineout goes astray allowing Hodgson to ease the pressure.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

63mins
Saints trying everything to get forward but a neat offloading move breaks down and it’s the home side who plough forward again. Dowson goes in well though and whine his side a penalty - one Myler pumps upfield.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

65mins
There’s another chance for Saints to work a lineout drive as Saracens block in front of the ball carrier in their own maul. A second 5m lineout is lost though and Saracens again boot it clear.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

70mins
Both sides line outs seem to have fallen apart and Saints take advantage of a poor Sarries throw to drive forward and win a penalty. They are fast running out of time in which to take advantage, however.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

71mins
Pretty street-wise from Saracens, who are coughing up a lot of penalties for little loss. This time referee Carley has run out of patience though and Stevens is shown yellow. Again the Saints don’t make the most of their chance though and possession is lost.
SAR 28 SAINTS 10

73mins
SAINTS TRY! There might just be a little bit in this for the visitors as they turnover Saracens and whil it wide. Burrell cuts Saracens open and stretches over, grounding by his fingertips. Important conversion from Myler means Saints are just four points from a vital bonus point.
SAR 28 SAINTS 17

74mins
A very similar end to this game as the one against Leicester a couple of weeks back. Saracens will end the game a man down, but have seemingly done more than enough already for the win. Saints have something to chase though and their cause is helped by a free-kick as George wastes time taking a lineout. Another score now would make things interesting…
SAR 28 SAINTS 17

75mins
SAINTS TRY!!! Saints rampage forward and North dives over the top of a close range ruck in the corner. The Saints winger thinks he’s scored and he has! What a finish we have coming up. Looks like it is Leicester all over again! Big conversion from wide by Myler as well!
SAR 28 SAINTS 24

77mins
Saints penalty on halfway! They’re going to have a chance to win this game inside Sarries’ 22. Quite astonishing end to the game.
SAR 28 SAINTS 24

78mins
A timely intervention from the hosts’ perspective as they get stuck into thje Saints maul for a scrum. They’re still a forward light but it’s a penalty to follow up at the scrum. Two minutes left though and that’s plenty of time for ANYTHING to happen.
SAR 28 SAINTS 24

79mins
Succesful lineout catch from Botha and an opportunity to wind down the clock in a maul. Saints wrap it up for a scrum. One last attack with 30secs on the clock. Can anyone’s heart take this anymore?!
SAR 28 SAINTS 24

80mins
Big carry from Burrell and North gates in on the act too. Manoa carries it up but Sarries defenders flood into one more breakdown and a penalty brings an end to a breathless game.
SAR 28 SAINTS 24

FT
With an hour gone, Saints would probably have bitten your hand off for a losing bonus point, but how quickly things can change. Territory belonged to the hosts for sustained periods of the game but Saints almost showed it’s what you do with it that counts and a scarcely believable final 10 minutes almost unfolded. Almost.
SAR 28 SAINTS 24

TIMELINE
9mins SAR Try Strettle 5-0
15mins SAINTS Pen Myler 5-3
19mins SAINTS Try Penalty Con Myler 5-10
22mins SARACENS Try Brown Con Farrell 12-10
29mins SAR Miss pen Farrell
33mins SAR Pen Bosch 15-10
36mins SAR Pen Bosch 18-10
40mins SAR Pen Farrell 21-10
HALF-TIME SAR 21 SAINTS 10
52mins SAR Miss pen Hodgson
55mins SAR Try Bosch Con Hodgson 28-10
73mins SAINTS Try Burrell Con Myler 28-17
75mins SAINTS Try North Con Myler 28-24
FULL-TIME SAR 28 SAINTS 24

SARACENS: Wyles; Ashton, Bosch, Barritt, Strettle; Farrell, De Kock; M Vunipola, Brits, Johnston, Borthwick (capt), Botha, Wray, Brown, B Vunipola

Reps: George, Barrington, Stevens, Sheriff, Burger, Wigglesworth, Hodgson, Streather

SAINTS: Foden; Elliott, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, McMillan, Ma’afu, Lawes, Day, Clark, Wood (capt), Manoa

Reps: Haywood, E Waller, Denman, Dickinson, Dowson, Fotuali’i, Hooley, Wilson

Referee: Matthew Carley

Att: 9,999

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