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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
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 20th September|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
|Saturday 11th October|
|15:00||Saracens vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 18th October|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|15:15||Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne|
|Friday 24th October|
|19:45||Munster vs Saracens|
|Saturday 1st November|
|15:00||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 8th November|
|15:00||Ospreys vs Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|15:00||Leicester vs Saracens|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|15:00||Saracens vs Northampton|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com