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SAINTS 6 SARACENS 12 Sarries crash Gardens party

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The Barwell Stand's big day ended in disappointment on the field as Saracens edged a war of attrition in front of a record modern-day crowd of 15,169 at Franklin's Gardens. 

It was a game of few, if any, guilt edged chances and in the end one decided by the boot of Owen Farrell as defence won the day.

It was in fact Farrell's mistake from the opening kick off that handed Saints the lead. The fly half lumped out on the full and after a scrum penalty and a couple of phases close to the Sarries 22, a lazy runner got in the way of Kahn Fotuali'i's pass.

Stephen Myler stepped up to knock over the first points in front of the Barwell Stand, but having gone ahead, Saints would spend much of the next 20 minutes on the back foot, albeit comfortably repelling the sizeable threats of Billy and Mako Vunipola. 

It was just after the half hour that what could be perceived as the turning point occurred when Tom Wood went in late on Farrell. It was a marginal offence - a penalty nonetheless - but what followed was to prove a huge let off for the visitors.

Farrell twice raised his hands into the Saints' skipper's face, the second time with force, and despite the consultation of the TMO, walked free to knock over the points amid choruses of boos from the usually impeccable Gardens crowd.

There was no such luck with their next points, however, a scrum that the Saints had bossed all half long going against them for the first time and Farrell again on point, this time from long range.

It was a marginal gap that Saracens maybe deserved having shaded the territory and with Myler agonisingly wide with his next attempt at the other end, a three-point advantage they took into the break.

With points at a premium, the next score was certainly an important one and again came from the right boot of the visiting fly half. It was another from the scrum as well, but Saints responded well with Jamie  Elliott and George North both coming off their wings effectively.

Territory was also captured with a series of smart kicks, but unfortunately, opportunities just weren't materialising - a five metre lineout coming to nothing and Saracens doing their best to slow the game down at every opportunity.

The visitors, of course, are renowned as comfortable front runners and while the closest they would get to scoring was a short period in the Saints 22, their try threat on the home line was also limited.

Instead it was left to Farrell once more to land the killer blow and a bright Saints spell as the clock wound down was only good enough for a penalty shot at goal, one JJ Hanrahan duly landed for the scant consolation of a bonus point.

TIMELINE
4mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-0
35mins SARACENS Pen Farrell 3-3
38mins SAINTS Miss Pen Myler
40mins SARACENS Pen Farrell 3-6
HALF-TIME SAINTS 3 SARACENS 6
47mins SARACENS Pen Farrell 3-9
69mins SARACENS Pen Farrell 3-12
80mins SAINTS Pen Hanrahan 6-12
FULL-TIME SAINTS 6 SARACENS 12

SAINTS Foden; Elliott, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Fotuali'i; A Waller, Hartley, Brookes, Craig, Day, Gibson, Wood (capt), Dickinson

Haywood, E Waller, Hill, Paterson, Harrison, Dickson, Hanrahan, Tuala

SARACENS Goode; Ashton, Taylor, Barritt, Wyles; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, Brits, du Plessis, Kruis, Hargreaves (capt), Itoje, Burger, B Vunipola

George, Barrington, Figallo, Rhodes, Brown, Spencer, Hodgson, Bosch

REFEREE Luke Pearce

AVIVA MAN OF THE MATCH George Kruis

ATT 15,169

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