Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: Saracens 24 Northampton Saints 20

Saracens starlet Maro Itoje insists his side went into the break knowing they could turn the game around in the second half after the Londoners reached their first LV= Cup final at the expense of Northampton Saints.

The 24-20 defeat is even harder to take for Jim Mallinder’s men considering a Franklin’s Gardens final was in their sights after a dominant first half.

Young fly-half Sam Olver scooped up 13 points with a try, conversion and two penalties, though the lethal David Strettle did strike with a converted try.

Mike Ellery’s superb break and finish then woke Sarries up from their slumber in the second half, with Saints becoming increasingly sloppy and allowing Ben Spencer to slot through three penalties.

Lee Dickson came off the bench and dotted down to make things dicey for Saracens in the final 20 minutes, but a Nils Mordt drop-goal and some last-ditch defending saw them through.

And skipper Itoje said: “Saints are a top team and we know they’re not at the top of the Premiership for no reason, top teams have quality individuals and I’m just so happy we were able to get the result we wanted.

“(The second half) was exactly what we needed, we had the wind behind us and we knew it was going to be a little bit easier. But saying that we still had to work hard to get what we wanted. So I’m really happy with the result.

“It’s a special moment, not just for me, I have five, six, seven quality generals and quality leaders in that team.

“Without their help and without their guidance, their leadership, I wouldn’t be able to do my job. So I’d like to thank those individuals for helping me out.”

Saints still have much to play for this season – not at least as pacesetters at the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table – but Mallinder admits a Franklin’s Gardens final would have been a special occasion.

"To have the final at Franklin's Gardens would have been ideal as it's something we have been targeting,” he said.

"We should have been further ahead at the interval and then to concede Ellery's try so soon after the interval was a killer blow.

"Sarries played well in slowing our ball down, but we didn't play well enough over the whole 80 minutes."
 
Saracens: Ransom; Ellery, Bosch, Streather, Strettle; Mordt, Spencer; Gill (Barrington 51), Saunders (Spurling 51), Figallo (Alo 72); Itoje, Smith (Kruis 24); de Jager, Hankin (Brown 66), Joubert
Replacements not used: Whiteley, Palamo, Fercu
 
Northampton Saints: Tuala (Wilson 72); Elliott, Stephenson, Waldouck, Collins; Olver (Myler 60), Fotuali’I (Dickson 60); Corbisiero (Waller 61), Haywood (Williams 72), Ma’afu (Denman 55); Manoa, Ryder (Nutley 72); Fisher (Clark 55), Dowson, Dickinson
Saracens 24 Northampton Saints 20
 
Saracens
Tries: Strettle, Ellery
Conversions: Spencer
Penalties: Spencer 3
Drop-goal Mordt
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: Olver, Dickson
Conversions: Olver, Myler
Penalties: Olver 2

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just five rounds to go, now’s the time to click here to book your place at the world’s biggest club rugby final.
 

Latest News

Netani Talei retires from rugby

Harlequins back-row Netani Talei has today (Thursday 25th May) announced that he will retire from the game following medical advice.…

Netani Talei

Aviva Premiership Rugby Final – safety of supporters

The safety of our supporters is of upmost importance to Premiership Rugby. As a result, we have been working for…

Win a Citizen Watch and a ball signed by this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby champions

Celebrating being the Official Timekeeper of Premiership Rugby, Citizen are offering you the chance to win a Citizen Watch up…

England Squad Announced to Play in Old Mutual Wealth Cup Against the Barbarians

Eddie Jones has named his England squad to play in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup against the Barbarians on Sunday…

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership Final

Russell Hargreaves looks ahead to Wasps versus Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham, for the right to be called the 2017 champions…

Increased security measures at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night

Northampton Saints has announced that there will be increased security measures at Friday’s European Rugby Champions Cup qualification play-off against…

Franklins Gardens

Match Reaction: London Irish 55 (84) Yorkshire Carnegie 48 (66)

Nick Kennedy believes London Irish are finally back where they belong after dramatically sealing promotion to Aviva Premiership Rugby by…

Match Report: London Irish 55 (84) Yorkshire Carnegie 48 (66)

London Irish secured an instant return to Aviva Premiership Rugby as they beat Yorkshire Carnegie 55-48 in an enthralling encounter…

Aviva Premiership Rugby Final TV coverage on BT Sport and ITV Sport

Nearly nine months of unforgettable Aviva Premiership Rugby action comes to a head at Twickenham this weekend. Between September 2-4…

JP Doyle to referee Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

JP Doyle will be the man in the middle at this weekend’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham. Wasps and…

Nathan Hughes, Jimmy Gopperth and Thomas Waldrom propel Wasps and Exeter Chiefs to Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

Wasps rounded off an unbeaten campaign at the Ricoh Arena and booked their place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final…

Confidence could be the key for Exeter Chiefs, says Henry Slade

Exeter Chiefs fly-half Henry Slade believes the confidence coursing through his side could be key to deciding Saturday’s Aviva Premiership…

Dino Lamb replaces Will Evans in England U20 World Championship squad

Leicester Tigers flanker Will Evans has been ruled out of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia due to…

Final Preview: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

This is Wasps fifth appearance in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, winning all four previous attempts, in 2003, 2004, 2005…

Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

‘Emotional’ Tom Catterick will always be a Newcastle Falcons fan

Tom Catterick insists he will always be a Newcastle Falcons fan despite this week retiring from professional rugby at the…

Tom Catterick

‘Let’s finish the job’ – Gareth Steenson

Gareth Steenson insists Exeter Chiefs are a much different outfit to that of 12 months ago as they gear up…

Gareth Steenson

England squad gather ahead of Barbarians test

Twenty nine players have assembled in Pennyhill Park today ahead of England’s match against the Barbarians next Sunday (28th May)…

Match Reaction: Wasps 21 Leicester Tigers 20

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young believes his side are still growing in what is turning into a special Aviva…