Planet Rugby

Saracens sneak past Northampton

24th April 2010 16:53

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Powell A - Saracens

Scorer: Adam Powell

A last-minute missed conversion from Shane Geraghty saw Saracens sneak a 28-27 victory over Northampton at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

Ben Foden gave Geraghty the chance to seal the win when he touched down late on but the replacement sprayed his conversion attempt wide and with it saw an end to Saints' unbeaten home record.

For Saracens victory ensured they would play a semi-final and after the fourth meeting between these sides this season, there is every chance a fifth may arrive in the play-offs.

Saints took a fifth-minute lead from the second penalty of the match when Stephen Myler, making his 100th appearance for Northampton, curled in a fine kick from wide on the left.

But Saracens hit back within a minute, Rodd Penney's pass sending captain Ernst Joubert in by the left wing flag, despite the attentions of Chris Ashton. Glen Jackson converted from the touchline.

Mouritz Botha fell foul of referee Chris White in the 12th minute, knocking forward a Northampton pass inside his 22 with the intention of intercepting. White considered it a penalty, and Myler won't have a simpler kick to execute for what remains of the season.

The early exchanges found Saracens under pressure in the scrum where they conceded two penalties for failure to stay up and engaged.

And the second penalty sparked a siege on their line that was only relieved by conceding another penalty, again whipped over the bar by Myler.

Saracens were awarded their first kickable penalty in the 23rd minute for Saints not moving clear of a breakdown after tackling.

Jackson made no mistake to recapture the lead, but Saints went straight back on the offensive, pinned the visitors inside their 22 again and extracted another penalty, this time for coming in at the side.

But this time, the usually reliable Myler hammered the ball almost too hard, and watched it climb high and wide of the goal.

Northampton enjoyed the lion's share of ball, but the capacity Franklins Gardens crowd were seeing, not for the first time this season, the meanness of Saracens defence close to their goal-line.

The game erupted in the 33rd minute when Saracens halted an attack on the right by tackling Ashton just before Bruce Reihana's pass reached the prolific wing. White sent Botha to the sin-bin and awarded a penalty-try, converted by Myler.

Feelings were running high, and when Courtney Lawes hit Penney late, the wing responded by grabbing the flanker's ankle and toppling him.

The two club chairman may well have come to an 'amicable' resolution to the Soane Tonga'huita affair - the prop signed a contract with Saracens for next season only to change his mind after three weeks and sign a new deal with Saints - but there was clearly an edge to proceedings on the field.

Saracens reduced the arrears straight from the re-start.

Brad Barritt's break put Saints on the back-foot, they offended at the contact-area, and Jackson's penalty was spot on.

Northampton were handed the opportunity to restore their six-point lead on 45 minutes and Myler's accuracy returned, his kick from the right sailing high between the sticks.

Saracens scored a tremendous try two minutes later.

Centre Adam Powell crossing on the left following a multi-phased passage of play in which Jacques Burger and Jackson played key roles. Jackson's pass sent Powell in for the score after which he added the conversion.

Jackson then fired a penalty wide in the 52nd minute.

Some of Saracens attacking play was breathtaking, even in the eyes of home die-hards, but that crucial second score was not going to be earned without a massive additional effort against a team defending a 100% home league record.

And it was Saints who struck next, Myler kicking his sixth successful effort of the match on the hour to edge them 22-20 ahead - only for Saracens to spark the seventh lead change with a Jackson penalty after 63 minutes for offside.

Saracens' adventure was rewarded after 70 minutes when, after battering Saints on their line, the ball was whipped wide left where Penney managed to squeeze in by the flag. Jackson's conversion-attempt went wide.

Saints struck in the 78th minute after a succession of attacks when Foden raced over - but replacement Geraghty missed the conversion.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: Penalty, Foden
Con: Myler
Pen: Myler 5

For Saracens:
Tries: Joubert, Powell, Penney
Con: Jackson 2
Pen: Jackson 3

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Mark Easter, 20 Neil Best, 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Joe Ansbro.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Rodd Penney, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Jacques Burger, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Hugh Vyvyan, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Richard Skuse, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Justin Marshall, 22 Derick Hougaard, 23 Kameli Ratuvou.

Referee: Chris White

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954