Saracens vs Saints 30.12.12
Posted on: 31 December 2012
A try from hooker John Smit and two penalties apiece from Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson gave Saracens a slender one-point victory over rivals, Northampton Saints, at Stadium MK on Sunday.
The result keeps Saracens hot on the heels of Premiership champions, Harlequins, with Steve Borthwick’s side lying just one point off the pacesetters going into 2013.
It could’ve all been different for Saracens had Saints fly-half, Stephen Myler, landed his long range penalty with the last kick of the game. The woodwork saved the Men in Black and Brad Barritt cleared the ball to give Sarries a dramatic reprieve.
Had Myler been successful, the result would’ve been cruel on Saracens, especially in such controversial circumstances given prop, Rhys Gill, was questionably penalised by referee JP Doyle for kicking the ball away from a ruck.
Having raced to an early 11-0 lead, Saints hit back through a try from England back-row, Phil Dowson, and 11-points from Myler’s boot.
There was little to choose between the two sides throughout the 80 minutes and Hodgson’s uncharacteristic waywardness from the kicking tee kept the visitors in charge on the scoreboard. However, Farrell’s introduction from the bench steadied the ship and edged the hosts back in front heading into the final quarter.
Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall, was relieved to see his side get over the line. He said: "It was a pretty tough kick and fair play to Stephen Myler. He struck the ball beautifully and we are fortunate it didn't go over.
"It seemed to be on the edge of his range and that proved to be the case.
"We felt we had the better of things for a lot of the match but you've got to reflect that on the scoreboard, which we didn't do.
"We never felt they had us under a lot of pressure but every time they came into our half they came away with something.
"There were some glimpses of us playing good rugby. We had enough at the end."