Aviva Premiership: Northampton upset Saracens to reach final
Northampton upset the odds with a 27-13 win over Saracens at Allianz Park to reach the Aviva Premiership final.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 13/05/13 6:58am
After five previous failures at the semi-final stage, the Saints finally went marching on to Twickenham thanks to a stunning first 40 minutes that saw them score 17 points without reply.
Tries from the outgoing Brian Mujati and winger Jamie Elliott, who was then sin-binned in the second half, helped end Sarries' perfect record at their new home.
In truth the gap at the break could have been even greater had Stephen Myler not missed two penalties, while his offload to James Wilson would have resulted in a try had it not been a fraction too far in front of the centre.
Still, the fly-half did locate the posts to add the extras to Mujati's effort, the prop barging his way over for a try that was eventually awarded by the TMO.
Before Saracens had time to fully recover their line had been breached again, turnover ball from Samu Manoa's huge hit on Chris Ashton resulting in Elliott being set free down the left, the winger having far too much pace for the covering Steve Borthwick and Charlie Hodgson to deal with.
Myler added the extras again and rounded out the first-half scoring by booting three more points; in contrast, Owen Farrell's sliced penalty wide to the left summed up Sarries' uncharacteristically errror-strewn display.
Understandably the hosts did improve after the interval. Winger David Strettle blew a glorious chance when he went alone and was held up by Ben Foden, rather than using the supporting Chris Ashton to his right.
Farrell did finally get Sarries on the scoreboard with a pair of penalties but, just as a comeback seemed to be gathering momentum, Lee Dickson's pass down the blindside sent replacement GJ Van Velze trundling over for a converted score that came very much against the run of play.
Elliott somewhat blotted his copybook by tackling Farrell in the air, meaning he got 10 minutes in the bin and Saracens got the chance to attack with an extra man. They made the most of it, too, with a try on the left from Duncan Taylor.
However, Myler rubberstamped Northampton's trip to rugby HQ with a 73rd minute penalty, guaranteeing the East Midlands will be taking over the capital on May 25 when Saints take on the Tigers in a derby decider for the title.