HomeNewsSaracens 38-15 Northampton: Sarries crush Saints with five tries in Premiership semi-final

Saracens 38-15 Northampton: Sarries crush Saints with five tries in Premiership semi-final

Scotland wing Sean Maitland's two first-half tries were both improved by England star Owen Farrell
Scotland wing Sean Maitland’s two first-half tries were both improved by England star Owen Farrell
Saracens (21) 38
Tries: Maitland 2, Van Zyl, Malins, penalty try Cons: Farrell 4 Pen: Farrell
Northampton (3) 15
Tries: Mitchell, Ramm Con: Smith Pen: Smith

Saracens reached their seventh Premiership final in 10 years as they survived a second-half comeback to complete a five-try play-off semi-final win over Northampton Saints.

Saints were cruising 21-3 at the break after two converted tries from Scotland wing Sean Maitland and another from South African scrum-half Ivan van Zyl.

Alex Mitchell and James Ramm then both scored to give Saints some hope.

But a penalty try and a late Max Malins score helped Sarries complete the job in a game that ended 14 men a side after late yellow cards for England lock Maro Itoje and Saints replacement scrum-half Tom James.

Saracens will now be chasing a sixth title – and a first in four years following their relegation to the Championship – when they face the winners of Sunday’s second semi-final between Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks.

The final is at Twickenham on Saturday, 27 May – when they may have a chance to avenge their dramatic last-minute loss to Freddie Burns’ drop goal just a year ago.

Poor start for Saints at the StoneX

This was the 11th time that Northampton had reached the semi-finals – and their second in a row. But their coach Phil Dowson was still playing the last time they actually reached the final in 2014, when they beat Sarries.

And, although they beat Sarries 38-29 last month and are this season’s highest points and try scorers, they had not won at the StoneX Stadium since 2016.

They needed a good start to stand any real chance – and they failed to get it.

With the game just 25 seconds old, Maitland could have been sin-binned for clattering into George Furbank with his elbows in an aerial collision that left the England back needing lengthy treatment.

But referee Karl Dickson issued only a penalty, declined to consult the TMO, and in the sixth minute Maitland was still on the park to score Saracens’ opening try.

The black-tight-clad Maitland scored again on 23 minutes when he latched on to a clever Farrell grubber to score in the left corner.

And Sarries had their third try on the half hour when the quick-thinking Van Zyl took a tap penalty to go over for an easy run-in.

Better second half for Northampton

Northampton re-emerged after the break to show a bit more firepower – and were rewarded on 56 minutes when scrum-half Mitchell scored their first try.

Saints then briefly threatened a proper comeback when England forward Courtney Lawes set up winger Ramm to score.

But their revival was snuffed out by referee Dickson on 70 minutes when a Saracens maul forced a penalty try that also led to James being sent to the sin-bin.

Malins then made the game safe before Sarries were also reduced to 14 men when England and Lions lock Itoje was yellow-carded with just two minutes left.

Saracens: Goode, Malins, Lozowski, Tompkins, Maitland, Farrell (capt), Van Zyl; M Vunipola, George, Riccioni, Itoje, Tizard, Isiekwe, Earl, Wray.

Replacements: Dan, Mawi, Judge, Hunter-Hill, Knight, De Haas, Taylor, Daly.

Sin-bin: Itoje (78).

Northampton: Furbank, Ramm, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Freeman, F Smith, Mitchell; A Waller, Cruse, Davison, Ribbans, Moon, Lawes, Ludlam (capt), Augustus.

Replacements: R Smith, E Waller, Hill, Salakaia-Loto, Scott-Young, Graham, James, Collins.

Sin-bin: James (70).

Referee: Karl Dickson.

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