Saracens - Preview: Northampton Saints (A)

Sep 13, 2018

Preview: Northampton Saints (A)


Twitter: @SaintsRugby
Ground: Franklin’s Gardens
Capacity: 15,249

Premiership – 2013/14
Championship – 1989/90, 1995/96, 2007/08
Anglo-Welsh Cup – 2009/10
EDF Energy Trophy – 2007/08
Heineken Cup – 1999/00
Challenge Cup – 2008/09, 2013/14
A League – 2008/09, 2016/17, 2017/18
Middlesex 7s – 2002/03

Last season:
Premiership: 9th
European Champions Cup: Pool Stage
Anglo-Welsh Cup: Semi-final (lost to Bath)
Premiership Top Scorer: Rob Horne (7)

Ins: Dom Barrow (Leicester Tigers), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Charlie Davies (Dragons), Will Davis (Ealing Trailfinders), Ben Franks (London Irish), Joe Gray (Harlequins), James Haskell (Wasps), Andrew Kellaway, Tagele Naiyaravoro (both Waratahs), Andy Symons (Gloucester), Matt Worley (Racing 92)

Outs: Will Allman, Michael Paterson (both released), Jordan Onojaife, Matt Beesley (both Ealing Trailfinders), Kieran Brookes (Wasps), Rob Horne, Christian Day (both retired), Charlie Clare, Jamie Elliott (both Bedford Blues), Juan Pablo Estelles (Rosario), Ben Foden (Rugby United New York), Nic Groom (Lions), Ben Nutley, Tom Kessell (both Coventry), Campese Ma’afu (Leicester Tigers), Tom Stephenson, Stephen Myler (bothLondon Irish), George North (Ospreys)


There is a bit of a rebuilding process going on at Franklin’s Gardens with Northampton being led by a new coaching staff. With their new backroom team comes a lot of fresh faces in the playing squad including experienced British & Irish Lions Dan Biggar and James Haskell. Saints went into the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership full of confidence and optimism after impressive wins over Ospreys, Dragons and Glasgow Warriors in pre-season, where they accumulated 109 points. A difficult start to the Premiership campaign followed as Chris Boyd’s side headed to the West Country to take on Gloucester but they bounced back after their opening round defeat with a home win over Harlequins in which captain Dylan Hartley and new recruit Dan Biggar starred in.


Boyd joined Saints at the start of August 2018 as the club’s new Director of Rugby. The Kiwi arrived from the Wellington-based Hurricanes with a superb reputation as one of the most experienced head coaches in world rugby. He had coached the New Zealand franchise since the 2015 campaign, guiding them to their first ever Super Rugby title the following year. Boyd so nearly completed a fairy-tale first season with the franchise – his side narrowly losing out to the Highlanders in the Super Rugby final after topping the regular-season table. The 60-year-old has also coached New Zealand Under-20s and been an assistant at Wellington and Sharks.


Wales and British & Irish Lions fly-half Biggar joined Saints in the summer, filling the welsh void at the club following George North’s departure to Ospreys. A skilled player who can marshal his side around the pitch and boasts accuracy from the tee, the 28-year-old adds a new ace up Northampton’s sleeve with a superb chip and chase game. His arrival allows for a bit of a shift in the backline with Piers Francis and Harry Mallinder able to fully commit themselves to inside centre and full-back respectively.


Sunday 15th October 2017

Northampton Saints 13
Haywood Con: Mallinder Pens: Myler (2)

Saracens 57
Williams (2), Barritt, Clark, Koch, Vunipola, Lozowski, Spencer Cons: Farrell (7) Pen: Farrell

Saracens began the pool stages of the 2017/18 Champions Cup by dismantling Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.

Brad Barritt burrowed over at the back of a rolling maul to add to Liam Williams' opener before the Welshman crossed for a second in the first half.

Calum Clark bulldozed over from a driving maul to secure Sarries' four-try bonus point just before the break.

Sarries’ stranglehold on the match never loosened with front-rowers Vincent Koch and Mako Vunipola as well as replacements Alex Lozowski and Ben Spencer dotting down.

Owen Farrell kicked 17 points from the tee.

Northampton: Tuala, North, Burrell, Francis, Foden, Myler, Reinach; Waller, Hartley, Brookes, Paterson, Ribbans, Lawes, Gibson, Harrison. Replacements: Haywood, Ford-Robinson, Van Wyk, Ratuniyarawa, Wood, Groom, Mallinder, Collins. Sin Bin: Ribbans (40).

Saracens: Goode, Williams, Bosch, Barritt, Wyles, Farrell, Wigglesworth; Vunipola, George, Koch, Isiekwe, Kruis, Itoje, Clark, Wray. Replacements: Brits, Barrington, Figallo, Day, Burger, Spencer, Taylor, Lozowski.


Saracens played Northampton four times last season, winning each time and scoring over 50 points in each game.

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