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Northampton Saints 13 – 63 Saracens: Match Report

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints did not capitalise on a strong first-half performance against Saracens as they were undone after the interval, ultimately going down 13-63 at Franklin’s Gardens.

Reece Marshall grabbed a try on his first Aviva Premiership start for the hosts, with Stephen Myler also adding two penalties from the tee, but despite having the better of the opening 40 minutes Northampton went into the break 15-13 down.

But Saints were punished for coughing up possession with regularity in the second half, as Saracens notched up 48 unanswered points with characteristic ruthlessness.

Saints were dominant in the opening stages, and after George North’s break they worked the ball right up to Sarries’ line, but an unfortunate knock-on from Teimana Harrison with the line at his mercy saw an early opportunity go begging.

The opening score then went to Saracens as Sean Maitland and Alex Lozowski exchanged passes to set up the latter, but poor discipline from the visitors allowed Myler to close the gap from the tee.

Northampton were pushed deep into their 22 instantly from the restart, and Owen Farrell replied with a penalty of his own minutes later, with the first quarter done and dusted.

But Marshall, making his first Premiership start, scored a superb try in the corner as he popped out the back of the ruck and beat two defenders to the line – and Myler’s conversion drew the sides level close to the half-hour mark.

And with the momentum on their side Saints took the lead on the approach to half-time as Myler slotted a penalty from right in front of the posts to make it 13-10, but just before the interval Schalk Brits was bundled over the line near the corner for Sarries’ second try.

Farrell missed the conversion, but from there it was one-way traffic for the visitors as they exploded out of the blocks in the second half.

First scrum-half Ben Spencer darted round the maul for the corner, and then the north Londoners secured a bonus point through Mako Vunipola as he was driven across the line to the left of the posts.

Liam Williams crossed next for Saracens, latching on to a clever kick from Farrell, before Lozowski and Chris Wyles hit top gear and made the length of the field for their sixth try.

Their other winger Sean Maitland scored one of his own in similar fashion, before Jackson Wray crossed the line minutes later with another bundled effort in the maul.

Replacement Nathan Earle had the final say of the game, as his late try finished off a difficult afternoon for Northampton, who remain tenth in the Aviva Premiership.

SAINTS: Tuala, Tuitavake, Horne, Francis, North, Myler, Reinach, Ma’afu, Marshall, Brookes, Ratuniyarawa, Day (capt), Ribbans, Gibson, Harrison
Replacements: Clare, van Wyk, Painter, Paterson, Nutley, Mitchell, Collins, Foden

SARACENS: Williams, Maitland, Lozowski, Barritt (capt), Wyles, Farrell, Spencer, Vunipola, Brits, Figallo, Itoje, Kruis, Isiekwe, Cowan, Wray
Replacements: George, Barrington, Longbottom, Day, Burger, Wigglesworth, Taylor, Earle

TIMELINE
10’ SARACENS Try Lozowski, Conversion Farrell 0-7
15’ SAINTS Penalty Myler 3-7
21’ SARACENS Penalty Farrell 3-10
27’ SAINTS Try Marshall, Conversion Myler 10-10
32’ SAINTS Penalty Myler 13-10
35’ SARACENS Try Brits 13-15
HALF-TIME: Saints 13 – 15 Saracens
43’ SARACENS Try Spencer 13-20
50’ SARACENS Try Vunipola, Conversion Farrell 13-27
56’ SARACENS Penalty Farrell 13-30
58’ SARACENS Try Williams, Conversion Farrell 13-37
61’ SARACENS Try Wyles, Conversion Farrell 13-44
64’ SARACENS Try Maitland, Conversion Farrell 13-51
69’ SARACENS Try Wray, Conversion Farrell 13-58
80’ SARACENS Try Earle 13-63
FULL-TIME: Saints 13 – 63 Saracens

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