Sep 17, 2016
Saracens Overcome Saints In Fiery Encounter
Saracens made it three wins from three games in the Aviva Premiership as they defeated Northampton Saints 27-12 in a fiery clash at Allianz Park.
In game that was never far from boiling over it was Mark McCall’s side who kept their cool the best to run-in two tries to see off an ill-disciplined Saints. Fly-half Alex Lozowski kicked 17-points in another impressive performance from the summer signing, with Jamie George crossing for a try immediately after Alex Waller’s yellow card for an off the ball challenge on the England hooker.
Sarries were then awarded a penalty try from a powerful rolling maul that Northampton dragged down illegally. Lozowski added two late penalties to maintain the Men in Black’s 100% start to their Aviva Premiership defence.
The opening half was a tight affair. Both sides headed into the break with nine points to their name as Alex Lozowski and Stephen Myler traded penalty goals in forty minutes that was high on, but low on action with either side not really threatening eithers try-line.
Any fans glancing at the team sheet would automatically be attracted to the two number eight’s on show, as Saracens bulldozing Billy Vunipola lined up against Saints’ new recruit, French international Louis Picamoles. Both showed their physical prowess with ball in hand, and in defence, Billy Vunipola’s bone-rattling hit on his former England back row colleague Tom Wood was the perfect example of the Sarries loose-forward’s style of play.
Style maybe have been conspicuous in its absence in the first forty, but there was plenty to warm the rugby puritan as two sides hit the gain-line with ferocity with the game never too far from incident.
Stephen Myler was the first on the board in the dual of the tens, as he sent over an early penalty for the visitors after Saracens strayed offside at the breakdown. Saints’ lead though would only last four minutes as Lozowski sent over three points after a Saints infringement to level the game. The half continued with the tit-for-tat kicking. Next up was Lozowski, who landed an impressive 38 metre kick only for Myler to respond minutes later.
The two fly-halves traded another penalty each before the break as the side’s entered the Allianz Park changing rooms at 9-9.
With tempers flaring up, there was no sign of player’s emotions and tempers having cooled down during the fifteen minute half-time hiatus. These fixtures between two of the leagues fiercest rivals are always close to some sort of flare up, and after Stephen Myler sent over his fourth penalty of the game to edge the Saints in front, the blue touch paper was lit when Alex Waller was yellow-carded for an incident off the ball with Sarries replacement hooker, Jamie George.
Waller was involved in various off the ball incidents throughout the game, the majority going unpunished by Referee Greg Garner, who in difficult circumstances due to the volume of discretions on the field, tried his best to keep a lid on proceedings.
Waller’s luck had run out by this point. The chief antagonist of the Saints was sin-binned and cut a disconsolate figure from the bench when a minute after his offence, he watched Jamie George waltz over for the game changing moment.
It was a try right from the Sarries playbook. Saracens Forwards coach Ian Peel must be grinning like a Cheshire cat as he saw a perfectly executed lineout play that involved Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola release George down the 5-metre channel to score. Lozowski was unlucky with his conversion attempt, as it hit the uprights and bounced clear.
McCall’s side had done well to maintain their composure in the face of Northampton’s abrasive approach, and their class began to tell as Saints frustration began to get the better of them as they conceded a number of consecutive penalties to gift Sarries the momentum needed to kill off the contest.
With Waller still clicking his heels on the side-line’s the home team killed off the contest when they were awarded a penalty try after they pulled down a powerful Saracens maul hurtling towards the north stand try-line. Lozowski added the conversion and sent over two late penalties to see out the game.
Full-Time: Saracens 27 Northampton Saints 12
15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton; 13 Marcelo Bosch; 12 Brad Barritt (c); 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Alex Lozowski; 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola; 2 Schalk Brits; 3 Petrus Du Plessis; 4 Maro Itoje; 5 Jim Hamilton; 6 Michael Rhodes; 7 Schalk Burger; 8 Billy Vunipola:
Replacements: 16 Jamie George; 17 Richard Barrington; 18 Juan Figallo; 19 Kelly Brown; 20 Jackson Wray; 21 Ben Spencer; 22 Nick Tompkins; 23 Sean Maitland:
Tries George (56); Penalty try (66):
Cons Lozowski 1/2:
Penalties Lozowski 5/5:
Replacements used George for Brits (50); Barrington for M.Vunipola (73); Figallo for Du Plessis (41); Brown for Burger (74); Wray for Rhodes (53); Spencer for Wigglesworth74); Tomkins for Bosch (73);
15 Ahsee Tuala; 14 Ken Pisi; 13 George Pisi; 12 Luther Burrell; 11 George North; 10 Stephen Myler;
9 Lee Dickson; 1 Alex Waller; 2 Mikey Haywood; 3 Kieran Brookes; 4 Courtney Lawes; 5 Michael Paterson; 6 Tom Wood (capt); 7 Teimana Harrison;8 Louis Picamoles
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare; 17 Campese Ma’afu; 18 Paul Hill; 19 Sam Dickinson; 20 Jamie Gibson; 21 Nic Groom; 22 Harry Mallinder; 23 Ben Foden:
Scores Penalties Myler x 4:
Replacements used Clare for Burrell (74); Ma'afu for G.Pisi (62); G.Pisi for Waller (67); Hill for Brookes (64);
Dickinson for Paterson (62); Gibson for Harrison (49); Groom for Dickson (64); Mallinder for Tuala (69);
Man of the Match Schalk Burger.
Yellow cards Waller (55); Dickinson (71):
Scoring sequence 0-3;3-3;6-3;6-6;6-9;9-9;9-12;14-12;21-12;27-12.