Planet Rugby

Saracens see off plucky Saints

30th December 2012 16:03

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Courtney Lawes Saints v Sarries AVP 2012

Tight tussle: Courtney Lawes takes on Sarries' defence

Saracens moved back into second spot on the Premiership table after claiming a nail-biting 17-16 win over Northampton at stadiumMK on Sunday.

Two late Owen Farrell penalties sealed the win for the home side.

Saracens initially took an 11-0 lead through John Smit's touchdown and two Charlie Hodgson penalties, but the visitors hit back with Phil Dowson's converted try and Stephen Myler's three-pointer.

Although Myler added two more from the tee in the second half, Farrell came on to kick the home side to victory.

Despite an excellent start to the season, the Saints' form has gradually tailed off in recent months, culminating in a disappointing 18-9 defeat to Harlequins last week.

And they looked devoid of ideas early on in this encounter as the hosts' forwards controlled the tempo from the kick-off.

Saracens took the lead after a powerful driving maul ended in Smit touching down for his first Premiership try.

Hodgson extended that advantage with successive penalties as they went 11-0 ahead with just 15 minutes gone. Northampton needed a response and Jim Mallinder's men found it through a well-constructed try.

Ken Pisi made the initial break before Dowson was on hand to charge through two defenders to score. Myler then added a penalty to cut the deficit to just a point at half-time.

The Saints' stand-off then kicked them ahead as Sarries started to make mistakes.

The visitors' scrum, previously under pressure, also began to take command and a further infringement in that area allowed Myler to take the score to 16-11.

But successive three-pointers from substitute Farrell gained the win, although there was late drama as Myler's last minute attempt hit the bar.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Try: Smit
Pens: Hodgson 2, Farrell 2

For Northampton:
Try: Dowson
Pens: Myler 3
Con: Myler

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert (c), 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 George Kruis, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 James Short.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley(c), 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.

Referee: JP Doyle

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