May 23, 2015
Saracens book final place in Gardens epic
Saracens booked a place in the Aviva Premiership final for the second successive season with a monumental 29-24 victory at Franklins Gardens.
Jamie George and David Strettle scored the tries and Jacques Burger was the man of the match in an outstanding display from Mark McCall’s team to beat the Northampton Saints on their own patch.
A topsy-turvy game saw both side give everything in what was a tremendous Premiership match but it Sarries who kept building the pressure and got the result.
Saracens were on the board within five minutes. Moving the ball quickly wide through the hands, David Strettle found himself in space out wide. He kicked ahead and Duncan Taylor put in a terrific sprint to win the race with Lee Dickson and he collected the loose ball and then popped the ball up for Strettle to score. Owen Farrell added the extra points.
But Saints hit back. A series of lineout drives deep inside Saracens territory end with Mako Vunipola in the sin bin and Greg Garner going under the posts for the penalty try which was converted by Stephen Myler to level the scores on 15 minutes.
The visitors survived the next 10 minutes down to 14 men with some tigerish defence and that also earned them a penalty shot on 25 minutes when Farrell kicked three points from 35 metres.
But within minutes, Myler had levelled the scores with Saracens guilty of taking a man out off the ball.
However, despite missing a kick a minute earlier, Farrell made no mistake with his effort on 33 minutes.
But right on the stroke of half time, Myler levelled to scores again as the teams went in for the half time break.
With five minutes on the clock in the second half, Myler added another three points to give Saints the lead.
But it was a short held lead. Turning down a kick at goal, Farrell kicked for the corner and the forwards took over with a powerful drive over the line from five metres and Jamie George got the final touchdown. Farrell converted.
The England fly-half extended that lead on 54 minutes with a penalty.
But it wasn’t long before the Saints reverted to their power game and after turning down a shot at goal, they too went for the corner and they drove over with Tom Wood getting the touchdown. Myler missed the conversion.
However, in yet another twist, another Farrell penalty extended the lead on the hour to 26-21.
And when Farrell extended the lead to eight points with just two minutes left on the clock, it meant Saints needed two scores to get back in the game.
It wasn’t over. A Saints penalty with a minute left on clock saw them go for goal. Myler’s kick gave them hope with just 10 seconds left on the clock at the restart but the Sarries defence held firm in the final moments.
Tickets for the final are on sale now - get all the information by clicking here.