Saracens 29-20 Northampton: Owen Farrell kicks 19 points as Sarries secure place in the semi-final against Wasps
Saracens will now face Wasps in the European Champions Cup semi-final
Ken Pisi’s score combined with five points from Stephen Myler gave Saints a 10-6 lead at half-time
Tries from Chris Ashton and Chris Wyles saw Sarries come from behind to triumph
Courtney Lawes dabbed down a consolation try for the visitors late on
Saracens knocked fellow Premiership side Northampton Saints out of the European Rugby Champions Cup with a 29-20 victory at Allianz Park. The team from London will now meet Wasps in one of the two semifinals.
The visiting Saints were the ones in front at half-time after a Ken Pisi try and penalty and a conversion from Stephen Myler gave them a 10-6 lead. Owen Farrell’s trusty boot ensured that Sarries were just four points behind.
Myler and Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over in the first 20 minutes of the second half until Chris Ashton’s try in the 68th minute put Saracens in the driving seat.
After another Farrell penalty, the game was then put to bed when wing Chris Wyles was gifted a try four minutes from time. Saints did have the last say however, with a try from Courtney Lawes, but it was too little too late.
Farrell and his famous tilty head get the first points on the board after a long-range kick went through the posts, but the Premiership league leaders, who were the only side to go undefeated through the pool stage, suffered a setback when Will Fraser was sent to the sin-bin soon after for his attempted charge down on Ben Foden.
Saints capitalised on the man advantage as they attacked down the right-hand side with England powerhouse Billy Vunipola unable to stop Teimana Harrison, who fed Ken Pisi to speed over. Stephen Myler, who missed two simple penalty’s early in the game, finally got a kick over to land the extras, 3-7.
Farrell and Myler then traded penalties as the visitors took a 10-6 lead into the break. However, it could have well been more if they had taken more of their chances.
Sarries thought they’d made an ideal start to the second half when Duncan Taylor dotted down two minutes after the restart but Fraser blocking Luther Burrell in the build up meant Northampton had the penalty and could clear their lines.
The hosts though did eventually reduce the deficit when Farrell slotted his third penalty of the contest after 51 minutes, 9-10
Fraser though was penalised again, this time for obstruction. Meanwhile, Myler had found his range and nailed another penalty to re-establish their four-point lead.
But Farrell soon after lined up his shot out on the left and slotted it to once again make it a one-point contest, 12-13.
Saracens then finally got ahead as Ashton bombed over in trademark style. He darted forward on the diagonal and landed in the corner, after some brilliant handling by Alex Goode and Farrell, who kicked the extras to put the hosts six points ahead.
Farrell then added another three from the tee before USA international Chris Wyles secured the victory with his score. The winger picked up a loose pass before dabbing down between the posts with the number 10 adding the simple conversion, 29-13.
Northampton kept going and won a penalty in Saracens 22 before tapping and running it.Teimana Harrison made a strong initial half-break and got the offload away with the ball floating out to the corner where Lawes finished in the corner. Myler then converted to complete the games scoring
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 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Ben Ransom
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden (c), 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Harry Mallinder
Date: Saturday, April 9
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 17:45 BST (16:45 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)