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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London IrishGrenoble vs London Irish Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615