Northampton Saints could not end their European Champions Cup campaign with a victory as they were beaten 62-14 at Allianz Park by defending champions Saracens.
Saints were 14-10 ahead after a frenetic opening 20 minutes, with Cobus Reinach and Nafi Tuitavake both dotting down under the posts and the hosts responding through Mako Vunipola and an Owen Farrell penalty.
But Sarries clicked through the gears before half-time and wrapped up a bonus point, while the Saints were unable to trouble the scoreboard further.
And with Saracens needing more points on the board to boost their own qualification hopes for the knockout stages, Farrell continued to tick the board over with penalties as Sean Maitland and Sione Vailanu added two more tries.
The visitors enjoyed plenty of early possession, building the phases well while impressing at the breakdown, and won a third-minute penalty after making big progress from a driving maul.
Mallinder kicked into the corner, and while Sarries this time halted the Saints’ drive, Northampton recovered well with Ken Pisi darting through a gap from Wigglesworth’s box kick.
Mallinder then expertly chipped over the top with the outside of his boot, and with Goode unable to gather cleanly, Reinach punished the full-back and ran in under the posts.
From the restart, Saracens recovered the ball and Saints infringed at the breakdown, allowing Farrell to knock a routine penalty straight through the posts, before stealing a Saints lineout on the 22 in the 13th minute.
From there they built the phases and eventually Vunipola burrowed over under the posts, with Farrell making no mistake with the straightforward conversion.
A frantic passage of play soon followed, with Reinach and Ben Foden making key breaks with Saints offloading brilliantly in the tackle, before Michael Paterson found Tuitavake to score.
But in the 21st minute Foden was pulled back for a forward pass, and despite a strong scrum from Saints, replacement Nathan Earle darted through and with Northampton short of numbers the ball was sent wide for Goode to finish.
Farrell’s show-and-go seven minutes later opened up the space and he sent Bosch over to make it 22-14.
And the hosts had their fourth in the 35th minute as despite a superb break from Mitch Eadie up to halfway, Saints knocked on and with the field scattered Earle again did the damage – cutting inside before offloading for Wigglesworth to score.
Saracens kept up their pressure and Koch’s try made it 36-14 at the break, with Jamie Gibson also sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes.
Two early Farrell penalties extended the hosts’ lead after the interval, and Alex Mitchell came on for his Champions Cup debut after Saracens crossed through Maitland and Vailanu.
Saints were pinged again with 12 minutes remaining with the tackler not rolling away, and Farrell then took his personal tally to 27 with another penalty as Saints’ scrum tired in the closing stages.
SAINTS: Foden; Pisi, Horne, Stephenson, Tuitavake; Mallinder, Reinach; Ma’afu, Hartley, Brookes; Paterson, Day; Ribbans, Gibson, Eadie
Replacements: Marshall, van Wyk, Hill, Craig, Ludlam, Mitchell, Myler, North
SARACENS: Goode; Maitland, Bosch, Barritt, Wyles; Farrell, Wigglesworth; Vunipola, George, Koch; Isiekwe, Kruis; Itoje, Clark, Burger
Replacements: Tolofua, Thompson-Stringer, Figallo, Skelton, Vailanu, Spencer, Lozowski, Earle
6’ SAINTS Reinach try, Mallinder conversion 0-7
10’ SARACENS Farrell penalty 3-7
14’ SARACENS Vunipola try, Farrell conversion 10-7
17’ SAINTS Tuitavake try, Mallinder conversion 10-14
21’ SARACENS Goode try, Farrell conversion 17-14
29’ SARACENS Bosch try 22-14
35’ SARACENS Wigglesworth try, Farrell conversion 29-14
40+1’ SARACENS Koch try, Farrell conversion 36-14
HALF-TIME Saracens 36 Saints 14
46’ SARACENS Farrell penalty 39-14
49’ SARACENS Farrell penalty 42-14
55’ SARACENS Maitland try, Farrell conversion 49-14
63’ SARACENS Vailanu try, Farrell conversion 56-14
68’ SARACENS Farrell penalty 59-14
73’ SARACENS Farrell penalty 62-14
FULL-TIME Saracens 62 Saints 14