Northampton 6-12 Saracens: Farrell’s four penalties enough for unbeaten Sarries
Farrell kicks 12 points as Saracens continue unbeaten start to the Aviva Premiership
Saints secure a losing bonus point thanks to a penalty from JJ Hanrahan in the final minute
Sarries continue to lead the Aviva Premiership while Saints drop to ninth
BY JACK MITCHISON
Fly-half Owen Farrell’s 12-point haul from the tee was enough to ensure Saracens continue their unbeaten Aviva Premiership against Northampton, despite it being a try-less game at Franklin’s Gardens.
The pair were both back to full strength, with all of their Rugby World Cup stars returning for the repeat of the 2014 Premiership final.
However this didn’t make for a good quality game of rugby, as neither backline were able to make a serious impression on the try-less encounter.
Saints, who were especially boosted by the return of Welsh wing-wizard George North, initially took the lead after just three minutes when Stephen Myler kicked the first penalty of the match.
In what was a scrappy affair, Farrell kicked two penalties at the end of the first half to give Sarries a narrow lead at the break, 6-3.
The second half started off in a similar fashion, with both defences dominating the game. Farrell though extended Saracens’ lead two minutes after the restart to six points.
In a match dominated by breakdown battles and kicking for territory, Farrell kicked another three points after 69 minutes to give the visitors some breathing room, 3-12.
Saracens had a chance to extend their lead, but USA winger Chris Wyles spilled the ball only metres away from the try line.
Northampton though rallied late on, and although they weren’t able to score a try, they were able to add three consolation points to their tally through JJ Hanrahan, which secured them a losing bonus point.
This victory for Mark McCall’s side means they remain top of the Aviva premiership with a 100 per cent record. The defeat for Northampton was their third in four matches and sees them drop down to ninth in the table.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Saracens: Owen Farrell
In a game which lacked any real quality, the man of the match has to go to a man who did everything the coaches asked of him. That man is Owen Farrell. With a kicking success rate of 100%, his four penalties proved key in helping Saracens extend their winning start to the season to four games. The fly-half was subject to some big hits throughout the game, with George Sesi and Tom Wood both leaving their marks on the England number 10. He remained focused throughout, ensuring that Saracens returned home victorious.
Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliot, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Sam Dickson, 7 Tom Wood (c), 6, Jamie Gibson, 5, Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ahsee Tuala.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 George Kruis, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 3 Marcelo Bosch
Date: Saturday, November 7
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Peter Allan, Andy Watson
TMO: Trevor Fisher