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Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 27-38 Saracens

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 27-38 Saracens

Matches between Saracens and Northampton Saints have gone the way of the former in recent times and while that was the case here, it was in very different circumstances.

Northampton were in it throughout, scored two tries in quick succession in the second half and led with ten minutes to go.

Unfortunately for them, David Strettle was on hand to turn the tide with two tries in the closing stages to seal the 38-27 win and even deny Saints a bonus point.

Man of the match – Alex Lewington

Strettle is certainly a contender after his performance in the last ten minutes but overall it’s wing partner Alex Lewington who gets the nod. With Saracens trailing 10-0 in the first half, he popped up twice in quick succession to get his side right back into it. Add in five clean breaks on a day where he was a constant threat, and it’s clear to see he is slotting in quickly to life at his new club.

Try of the match

Ben Spencer is close for his lovely dummy and score after half-time but we have to go with Strettle scoring try number 50 in Gallagher Premiership Rugby. Between Harlequins and now two stints at Saracens, he has always been a box-office draw, and he showed his sense for the occasion here. His first try came as fly-half on the day Alex Goode and Liam Williams combined leaving him to stretch his legs and race through on the right to put Saracens back in front.

Moment of the match

Saracens looked in real trouble at 10-0 down and the momentum was clearly with Saints. It was then that Spencer put in a monster kick downfield, fully 65 metres, with no one at home for Northampton. That left Lewington with the chance to show off his speed as he raced through and got the champions on the board.

What they said

Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “It’s an awful lot of blood, sweat and tears to come away with nothing from an outcome point of view.

“But from a performance point of view there were some bits in there that were really heartening.

“It gives us a good picture to go back to the lads and say ‘this is how it needs to be’ but there are also times in there where we go back and say ‘this is how it shouldn’t be’.

“We were in with a chance with 15 minutes to go, but we didn’t quite get it right at the end there.”

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: “We are really pleased to get any kind of win up here. We got our noses in front in the second half but they showed a lot of resilience to come back.

“Our defensive maul was not good today, giving away two yellow cards, and that put us under enormous pressure and they got 14 points from those two situations.

“The rest of our game was in better order than it has been and we were much more physical and got over the gain line.

“We came back brilliantly when it really counted at the end of the match and showed our experience.”

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