Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: Saracens 24 Northampton Saints 31

Head coach Jim Mallinder paid tribute to Northampton Saints’ breathtaking first half as they ran out winners at Saracens to go top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

The visitors built up an early 22-3 lead dominating the scrum, with two tries from James Wilson and one from Phil Dowson.

But Jackson Wray’s try on the stroke of half-time hinted at a comeback for the home side, and Chris Wyles’ two second-half scores put Saracens within touching distance.

But with Stephen Myler reliable with the boot Northampton prevailed and became the first visiting team to score more than 30 points at Allianz Park.

And Mallinder pinpointed the performance of his backs, while also dismissing a minor injury to Luther Burrell.

“I think tactically we got it right in that first half,” said Mallinder. “It’s always a difficult place to play here, poor conditions, but in the first half we played really well, got our tactics right, and got a good lead.

“These are strange weeks, these international weeks. I came into today’s game not quite knowing where we were at, and it showed we’re in a pretty good place.

“James Wilson is a great player for us. In a game like today’s, that involved a lot of catching, kicking and scoring tries, he was very good.

“Both the half-backs were excellent today. It’s very difficult when you come back from England duty, mentally and physically, to then start playing for your club.

“I believe Luther Burrell has just gone over on his ankle, I don’t think it’s life-threatening! He’ll be hoping to get down to England training and show Stuart [Lancaster] again what he can do.”

Meanwhile, MarkMcCall was left rueing a dismal start for the hosts that saw them ship three tries in 21 first-half minutes.

He said: “The contrast between the two halves was too big. The first 25 minutes for us was unbelievably disappointing.

“I think we were second best at almost every area, but in particular in the scrum.

“We allowed what happened at the scrum during that 25-minute period to drain us of our energy across the board.

“We weren’t sharp enough, weren’t intelligent enough, lacked intensity in really everything we did, and Saints were 25-3 up after 25 minutes.

“We gave ourselves a shot at the end, to come back to 28-21, and we had a lot of momentum in those last eight or nine minutes.

“I’m glad we showed our true colours in the second half, we looked like a team who had a bit of bite, a bit of edge, a bit of urgency.

“It would have been a good achievement to have pulled it back, but we gave ourselves far too much to do.”
 
Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Tompkins, Wyles, Strettle (Ransom, 52); Hodgson, Spencer (de Kock, 70); Gill (Barrington, 54), George, Figallo (Johnston, 40); Hamilton, Hargreaves, Wray (Joubert, 52), Fraser (Burger, 63), Vunipola
Replacements not used: Sharman, Itoje
 
Northampton: Foden; Elliott, Stephenson, Burrell (Waldouck, 77), Wilson; Myler, Dickson; A Waller (E Waller, 77), Haywood (McMillan, 77), Ma’afu (Denman, 68); Craig (Nutley, 74), Day, Clark, Dowson, Manoa
Replacements not used: Harrison, Hodgson, Packman
 
Scorers
 
Saracens
Tries: Wray, Wyles 2
Penalties: Hodgson 3
 
Northampton
Tries: Wilson 2, Dowson
Conversions: Myler 2
Penalties: Myler 4
 
Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 8314
 
This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

Latest News

Fitzgerald confident Leicester Tigers can go all the way to Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

Leicester Tigers’ Mike Fitzgerald admits it’s been a tricky year for the club on and off the pitch but is…

Sale Sharks’ Denny Solomona licking his lips at chance to join England ranks

Sale Sharks’ Denny Solomona admits he is relishing the chance to taste international rugby following his inclusion in England’s squad…

Mark Wilson out to help Newcastle Falcons to 15-year high

Having been at the forefront of their improved efforts this season, Mark Wilson is determined to help Newcastle Falcons to…

Mark Wilson

‘Time to pick up where we left off,’ says Wasps’ Matt Mullan ahead of Harlequins showdown

Matt Mullan has his fingers crossed that Wasps can tune back in to the momentum that has taken them to…

Worcester Warriors bring in Defence & Kicking Strategy Coach Omar Mouneimne

Worcester Warriors have recruited Omar Mouneimne as Defence & Kicking Strategy Coach. The South African, who has a wealth of…

Omar Mouneimne

Premiership Rugby dedicates this weekend to RPA’s #LiftTheWeight campaign

Premiership Rugby are dedicating all six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this weekend to Restart Rugby, the official charity of the…

Lift the weight campaign

Ross Chisholm and Charlie Mulchrone commit to Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 26th April) that Ross Chisholm and Charlie Mulchrone have re-signed for the Club.…

Ross Chisholm

Aviva Premiership Rugby on BT Sport and ITV Sport

After a break for European action, Aviva Premiership Rugby returns in full this weekend with plenty for the fans to…

O’Connell desperate to deliver for Bristol Rugby fans against Saracens

Bristol Rugby prop Jack O’Connell is delighted to have the opportunity to test himself against some of the best players…

Gary Gold to become Worcester Warriors’ permanent Director of Rugby

Worcester Warriors are delighted to announce that Gary Gold will become the Club’s permanent Director of Rugby after signing a…

Gary Gold

Round 21 Preview: Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby

Bath Rugby’s only victory in the last five rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 27-21 over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham…

Bath v Gloucester

Round 21 Preview: Saracens v Bristol Rugby

Saracens have won their last five first team matches since their defeat to Leicester at Allianz Park in the semi-final…

Saracens v Bristol

Round 21 Preview: Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Leicester Tigers have suffered just two reversals in the last seven rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby: at home to Exeter…

Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Round 21 Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints

Exeter Chiefs have won their last six matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby gaining a maximum 30 league points – no…

Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints

Round 21 Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors

Newcastle Falcons have won just one of their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: 16-14 at home to Gloucester Rugby…

Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors

Round 21 Preview: Harlequins v Wasps

Harlequins have lost their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, to Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, but have not lost three…

Harlequins v Wasps

Northampton Wanderers face Gloucester United in Aviva A League final

Northampton Wanderers will meet Gloucester United in the Aviva A League final on Monday 1 May (3pm) at Franklin's Gardens…

Ellis Genge agrees new contract terms at Leicester Tigers

England international prop Ellis Genge has agreed new contract terms at Leicester Tigers. Genge, 22, arrived at Tigers during the…

Ellis Genge

Billy Vunipola, Billy Burns, Ben Morgan and Francois Louw top the OPTA Rugby Rankings

Billy Vunipola was a force to be reckoned with as Saracens booked their place as Aviva Premiership Rugby’s representatives in…