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- Aviva Premiership
- 26th Oct 2013
- KO 15:15
- Ground: Franklin's Gardens
- Att: 13,474
Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints thrash Saracens 41-20 at Franklin's Gardens
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England full-back Ben Foden ran in a brace of tries as Northampton overwhelmed Aviva Premiership title rivals Saracens 41-20 at Franklin's Gardens.
Saints inflicted the heaviest defeat on Saracens in four and a half years in the rout and moved to within a point of their rivals at the top of the table.
Foden improved his chances of winning a place on the bench against Australia at Twickenham next Saturday with his display, while Luther Burrell, who was released by England last week, asked questions of Saracens' defence throughout and deserved his 64th-minute try, even if it did involve a forward pass.
The thrashing was completed by Jamie Elliott, Ken Pisi and man of the match Samu Manoa, the marauding American lock whose early ball-carrying was instrumental in Saints cruising into an early 17-3 lead that was never challenged.
Fly-half Stephen Myler kicked a penalty and four conversions in a memorable afternoon for the hosts.
It was the second time in nine days that Saracens had been outmuscled, although Saints possessed far more guile than their last conquerors at Wembley last weekend, Toulouse.
Saracens appeared unstoppable earlier in the season and while they remain at the top of the Premiership table, a second successive defeat and first in the league has pierced any air of invincibility.
Both teams were missing five players to England's training camp in Leeds, while Northampton also rested their giant Wales wing George North.
A warning of the carnage to come was evident after just 12 minutes when Saints ruthlessly exploited an opportunity started when Manoa caught a line-out.
Manoa charged upfield, Kahn Fotuali'i took the ball on and Saints poured into the large gaps around the breakdown as Saracens scrambled to recover.
Sam Dickinson powered forward until Elliott, having drifted infield off his wing, arrived to dart in under the posts.
Two last-gasp pieces of defending prevented Saracens from crossing with Elliott executing a try-saving tackle on David Strettle and Foden ripping the ball off England rival Alex Goode over the line.
The Premiership leaders were soon back under pressure, however, with the bulldozing Manoa leading the assault on their whitewash.
Burrell muscled his way upfield and when the ball was recycled Manoa made the most of some feeble tackling to charge over.
Saracens' problems extended to the set piece with their scrum taking a battering - of the five penalties they had conceded four had been awarded against their scrum.
Goode landed his second penalty on the stroke of half-time to slash the deficit to 17-6, but their fragile defence continued to haunt them two minutes after the interval.
George Pisi made ground with ease and Burrell, his centre partner, also made his presence felt five metres out until the arrival of Phil Dowson and Foden saw the full-back driven over.
The rout continued unchecked with Foden scoring a second try to deliver the bonus point.
A poor missed clearance from Goode gave Saints the platform to attack, but it was the strength of Burrell that really did the damage.
The 25-year-old committed three defenders but was still able to release the ball to Myler whose kick ahead was touched down by Foden.
Saracens brought on James Johnston, Marcelo Bosch, Mouritz Botha, Neil de Kock and Jamie George in the 55th minute in an attempt to reverse their fortunes.
Inside centre Duncan Taylor capitalised on the quick thinking of Nils Mordt to give the visitors their first try, but moments later Saints ran in their fifth try.
George Pisi produced a marvellous offload to Ken Pisi and although the wing's scoring pass to Burrell looked forward, the try was given.
It was decided Kelly Brown had grounded the ball beneath a pile of bodies, before the final blow in a humbling afternoon for Saracens was delivered by Ken Pisi.
|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 4th October|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Northampton|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Leicester|
|Sunday 5th October|
|14:00||Sale vs Wasps|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Exeter|
|Friday 10th October|
|19:45||Leicester vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 11th October|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Irish|
|15:15||Northampton vs Sale|
|Sunday 12th October|
|14:00||Wasps vs Bath|
|Saturday 15th November|
|14:00||Sale vs London Irish|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Newcastle 18 - 20 London Irish|
|Wasps 20 - 16 Northampton|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Exeter 20 - 24 Leicester|
|Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks|
|Bath 53 - 26 London Welsh|
|Friday 12th September|
|Harlequins 0 - 39 Saracens|
|Sunday 7th September|
|London Welsh 0 - 52 Exeter|
|Saturday 6th September|
|London Irish 15 - 20 Harlequins|
|Leicester 36 - 17 Newcastle|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath|
|Saracens 34 - 28 Wasps|
|Friday 5th September|
|Northampton 53 - 6 Gloucester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com