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Saracens 28 Northampton Saints 24

13 Apr 2014
Saracens 28 Northampton Saints 24

Saracens survived a late scare to see off a potential rival for this season’s Aviva Premiership title in Northampton Saints and cement their place at the top of the table.

David Strettle, Kelly Brown and Marcelo Bosch, who also added two impressive penalties, all got on the scoresheet for Mark McCall’s men at Allianz Park.

Saracens were 28-10 up with eight minutes to go, but they were made to sweat as Matt Stevens’ sin-binning was followed by tries from George North and Luther Burrell.

Stephen Myler’s conversion cut the gap to four points with four minutes to go, but Saracens clung on to record the win.

Northampton had won the previous four meetings between the teams, but Saracens were in front inside eight minutes as a neat grubber kick from Owen Farrell presented Strettle with a chance he couldn’t pass up.

The conversion was missed and Northampton responded quickly as Myler pushed a penalty through the posts to cut the gap to two points.

And the away side were soon in front as a huge driving maul pushed referee Matthew Carley into awarding a penalty try.

Myler slotted the resulting conversion, but Northampton were soon two points behind again as Scotland flanker Brown’s try was followed by a Farrell conversion.

Saracens were bossing the territory and only some resolute Northampton defending stopped them adding a third score inside the first half an hour.

Farrell had the chance to add more points from the tee, but spurned the opportunity in a game that was high on intensity.

Bosch then belted a penalty from inside his own half to extend the Saracens lead and after Jamie Elliott ran into trouble, the home side were handed another shot at goal, with Bosch again on target.

Saracens were oozing belief and they went 11 points up on the stroke of half-time as Farrell made Northampton pay for conceding yet another penalty.

Farrell was forced off at the break, with Charlie Hodgson coming on in his place, but Saracens continued their dominance.

They used it to devastating effect as Myler’s poor pass in the midfield teed up an attack and Bosch latched onto a neat pass to score.

Hodgson took the score to 28-10 and Northampton needed a response with less than half an hour to play.

Saints had a man advantage for the closing stages as Stevens was sin-binned with eight minutes to go and they used it to good effect as Burrell burst over the line.

Myler cut the gap to 11 points and Saracens were soon sweating as North forced his way over in the corner.

The conversion hauled Saints to within four points with four minutes to go, but when they were penalised for holding on with time up the game drew to a close.

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