Sep 26, 2015
Saracen beaten in presentation hit-out
Saracens were beaten 36-17 at Allianz Park by Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership Champions first hit-out of the 2015 preseason at their north London home.
In an entertaining contest it was the Saints who would travel up the M1 with the spoils, with Franklin’s Gardens side running in five tries to Saracens two scores as both teams continue to prepare for the rigours of the 2015/16 season.
Try scorers for Saracens were Chris Ashton and replacement loose forward Jackson Wray, whilst Ben Spencer and Baden Kerr added seven points from the kicking tee.
In an enterprising and frenetic opening to the game it was first blood to visitors Northampton Saints, as England U20s wing Howard Packman raced onto a fine Lee Dickson pass to jink his way over the try line. Myler failed to convert.
Saracens immediately hit back with Chris Ashton dotting down for a well taken score a minute after Packman’s effort.
After a deft grubber kick from Baden Kerr, Ashton’s opposite wing Mike Ellery superbly kept in the rolling ball despite being bundled out in to touch. Sarries recycled and after some deft offloads from forwards Jim Hamilton and Petrus Du Plessis, the found its way to Aaron Morris who expertly found Saracens free scoring wing Ashton in acres of space. Ashton finished with aplomb with Spencer converting out wide to nudge Sarries ahead.
Minutes later Northampton Saints wing Tom Collins was yellow carded as he rushed into the jumping Aaron Morris. Referee Greg Garner had no hesitation to send Collins to the bin as Morris looked to catch his breath after a heavy fall.
After Ben Spencer extended his side’s lead to five points with a penalty goal, Saints wing Collins atoned for his earlier indiscretion by scoring Saints’ second try of the afternoon after a fine break from young Saints centre, Tom Stephenson. Myler this time made no mistake form the touchline, as the experienced Saints man nudged his side in front.
Jim Mallindar’s men were in the ascendant at this point of the first half, with Saracens having to defend for the majority of the second quarter of the game.
Forgotten England man Luther Burrell underlined his talent with two well taken tries in the final minutes of the half. The first a well-timed intercept from a Baden Kerr pass, and the second a powerful break to score under the posts as Saints went into the sheds with a 26-10 lead at the break.
At the break Mark McCall sent on four substitutions, with Richard Barrington, Kelly Brown and Jackson Wray up front, and Neil de Kock at halfback coming on to replace Rhys Gill, Will Fraser, Ernst Joubert and Neil De Kock.
After Saints replacement pivot JJ Hanrahan sent over a 42nd minute penalty, Saracens responded with substitute loose forward Jackson Wray powering over from a scrum close to Saints line. With Ben Spencer now off the pitch, Bade Kerr assumed kicking responsibilities and the former Auckland Blues man made no mistake with a routine conversion.
Saints extended their lead, with summer signing Jamie Gibson reaching out to score, with Hanrahan once again converting to score the last points of the game.
Both teams rotated their players and introduced their replacements. Wing Nathan Earle impressed with some electric runs, whilst new recruit Michael Rhodes impressed with a physical and industrious performance from flanker. The Saracens Man of the Match award went to centre Nick Tompkins who impressed from inside centre.
Speaking after the game, Tompkins (pictured) said: “It’s been a long preseason, so it was good to get the game under our belts. Credit to Northampton for their performance and result, but we know what we have to work on before the season start. There’s more to come from us, but overall it was a good hit-out for us and more minutes in the bank as we build for a big season.”
15 Aaron Morris; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Mike Ellery; 10 Baden Kerr; 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Rhys Gill, 2 Jared Saunders, 3 Petrus Du Plessis; 4 Jim Hamilton, 5 Maro Itoje ©; 6 Michael Rhodes, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Ernst Joubert.
16 Tyrone Moran, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Ed Gower, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Jackson Wray, 22 Neil De Kock, 23 Nils Mordt, 24 Tom Griffiths, 25 Nathan Earle, 26 Matt Gallagher, 27 Dominic Morris.
Tries: Chris Ashton, Jackson Wray
Conversions: Ben Spencer, Baden Kerr
Penalties: Ben Spencer
15 Ben Foden; 14 Howard Packman, 13 Tom Stephenson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins; 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson ©; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Sam Dickinson, 5 Christian Day, 6 Jamie Gibson, 7 Calum Clark, 8 Jon Fisher.
Ethan Waller, Mike Haywood, Paul Hill, Alex Woolford, Adam Parkins, Ben Nutley, Teimana Harrison, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Kessell, JJ Hanrahan, Rory Hutchinson, Luke Eves, Pat Howard, George Furbank, Ahsee Tuala
Tries: Howard Packman, Tom Collins, Luther Burrell x2, Jamie Gibson
Conversions: Stephen Myler (3/4), JJ Hanrahan.
Penalty: JJ Hanrahan