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Owen Farrell's boot helps Saracens go to Aviva Premiership summit
Aviva Premiership leaders Northampton suffered their first home defeat of the season, going down 16-6 to Saracens at Franklin's Gardens.
Owen Farrell slotted over three penalties and converted Alex Goode's try to help end Saints' perfect record, the hosts only responding with three points apiece from Stephen Myler and Ryan Lamb.
There was a worrying start for the Northampton front row as they lost their own scrum on their 22. But Dylan Hartley made up for it by getting over Brad Barritt to win a penalty on his try-line after opposite number Schalk Brits looked to have set up a try when he offloaded five metres out.
Nevertheless, with the help of a strong wind Farrell put Saracens 3-0 in front with a penalty from the halfway line after eight minutes.
Some good work on the right wing from the Pisi brothers got the home side into the Saracens 22 and a shot at the posts. George Pisi flicked a pass out of the back of his hand to brother Ken who nipped past a tackler before Saints won a penalty at a ruck, allowing Myler to make it 3-3.
When Ken Pisi gave the ball away Saracens counter-attacked to score the game's opening try after 26 minutes.
Brits nipped on the outside of Soane Tonga'uiha to send Joel Tomkins free on the right wing and his inside pass put Goode over. Farrell made no mistake with the conversion.
Saints came out for the second half without captain Hartley, but the pack still turned over a Saracens scrum and the resulting attack earned them a penalty for Lamb, now kicking in swirling rain, to trim the lead to 10-6.
Saracens were winning the important battle at the ruck, however, and their suffocating defence earned them further penalties for Farrell to make it 16-6. The positive result lifts them top of the table, two points clear of Saints.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
|Saturday 31st May|
|Saracens 20 - 24 Northampton|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com