Apr 07, 2018
Dazzling second half earns Sarries massive win at Saints
Saracens strengthened their grip on second place in the Aviva Premiership with a superb 63-13 victory over Northampton Saints.
The Men in Black scored nine tries, seven coming in the second half, to dismantle their East Midlands rivals for a fourth time this term.
Alex Lozowski and Schalk Brits crossed either side of Reece Marshall’s score before the away team dazzled their opponents in the second half by scoring 48 unanswered points.
Ben Spencer and Mako Vunipola ensured the try-bonus and quick five-pointers from Liam Williams, Chris Wyles and Sean Maitland put them out of sight before Jackson Wray and Nathan Earle’s late finishes.
Owen Farrell was impressive from the boot, kicking 18 points.
Sarries began well on a warm afternoon at Franklin’s Gardens with Maro Itoje particularly enjoying the opening exchanges.
The England international was quick off the line, forcing Cobus Reinach to spill before a barnstorming run down the centre of the field almost led to Spencer trundling under the posts.
Despite being on the back foot, Saints should have opening the scoring. Top tackles from Juan Figallo and Williams prevented the hosts from crossing before Teimana Harrison fumbled two paces from the line.
The opportunity seemed to spark Northampton into life with full-back Ahsee Tuala looking to get his hands on the ball regularly; his latest venture ending with Figallo superbly winning a penalty via a jackal.
It allowed Saracens to gain field position in which to dot down for the game’s first score.
Beautifully delicate hands from the backs released Sean Maitland on a canter down the right flank and he passed inside for Lozowski to go in unopposed.
Farrell added the extras and soon after traded penalties with Stephen Myler before Saints replied with a try of their own.
Twice testing Sarries with their driving maul, hooker Marshall took a chance by peeling off the back of a strong base and squeezing over in the corner.
Myler converted from the touchline and then added three points to put Northampton into the lead for the first time.
Their advantage was short-lived with Saracens going over to edge back in front.
Blair Cowan, on his first start for the club, pinched possession at a ruck and the Men in Black secured a breakdown penalty moments later that Farrell opted to kick to the corner rather than a shot at goal.
It proved a worthwhile decision with Brits throwing accurately, reclaiming at the back of a fast-moving maul and flopping over.
Saracens dominated proceedings after the interval and ran away with the contest.
A 12-man maul marshalled by Spencer led to the scrum-half gathering a loose ball, going blind and powering over.
Penalty after penalty followed for Saracens courtesy of strong work from the forwards and eventually they got their reward of a bonus point fourth try; Vunipola the beneficiary of the pack’s hard yards.
Farrell was successful from the tee once more to take Sarries into the 30-point region before Mark McCall’s side blitzed their opponents with three excellent tries.
Firstly, Farrell took advantage of a free play by cutely chipping over the top of Saints’ defence for Williams to scamper in and then a fantastic team move resulted in Wyles crossing.
Duncan Taylor set Lozowksi away with a switch and the former Wasps man galloped 40 metres before putting Wyles in. The winger was caught by Tuala but managed to reach for the line and touch down.
Maitland burst down the wing to add another, Wray bundled over with a little help from his friends and Earle raced in the corner with the clock in the red to add extra gloss to Saracens’ fourth 50-plus points win over Northampton this season.
15 Ahsee Tuala (Foden 71'), 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Piers Francis, 11 George North (Collins 63'), 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Cobus Reinach (Mitchell 56'); 1 Campese Ma’afu (Van Wyk 67'). 2 Reece Marshall (Clare 67'), 3 Kieran Brookes (Painter 60'), 4 Api Ratuniyarawa (Paterson 63'), 5 Christian Day (c), 6 David Ribbans (Nutley 22'), 7 Jamie Gibson, 8 Teimana Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Tom Collins, 23 Ben Foden.
Tries: Marshall (27')
Conversions: Myler 1/1
Penalties: Myler 2/2
15 Liam Williams, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (Taylor 48'), 11 Chris Wyles (Earle 66'), 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer (Wigglesworth 53'); 1 Mako Vunipola(Barrington 63'), 2 Schalk Brits (George 53'), 3 Juan Figallo (Longbottom 56'), 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis (Day 66'), 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Blair Cowan (Burger 60'), 8 Jackson Wray (Cowan 73').
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Nathan Earle.
Tries: Lozowski (9'), Brits (35'), Spencer (43'), M.Vunipola (50'), Williams (58'), Wyles(61'), Maitland (64'), Wray (69'), Earle (80').
Conversions: Farrell 5/9
Penalties: Farrell 2/2
Man of the Match Liam Williams