Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Northampton's win brings an end to Owen Farrell's Saracens career

By PA
Saracens' Owen Farrell at full-time (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Owen Farrell signed off from his Saracens career with a 22-20 defeat by Northampton that extends Courtney Lawes’ own stay in English rugby for one last week. Both former England captains depart for French clubs at the end of the season and for Farrell that was signalled by a hard-fought Gallagher Premiership play-off at Franklin’s Gardens that propels Saints into next Saturday’s final.

ADVERTISEMENT

With defences ruling, it came down to the kickers to settle a gripping evening and up stepped Fin Smith for Northampton as he punished Saracens’ indiscipline and shaky scrum by landing five penalties.

The first of the weekend’s semi-finals lived up to expectations as the league leaders went toe to toe with the defending champions – and it was Northampton who had more in the locker.

Video Spacer

Do England rugby have to pick Jack Willis after staggering performance against Leinster

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Jack Willis’ incredible performance in the 2024 Investec European Champions Cup Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Video Spacer

Do England rugby have to pick Jack Willis after staggering performance against Leinster

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Jack Willis’ incredible performance in the 2024 Investec European Champions Cup Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

They controlled the last half hour, aided by their dominant scrum, and deservedly secured their place in the Twickenham showpiece for the first time since their title-winning season of 2014.

Farrell’s aim of a triumphant finish to his last season at his only club before joining Racing 92 met a green and black wall, while the night also saw his long-time England teammates Billy and Mako Vunipola say farewell to Saracens.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
22 - 20
Full-time
Saracens
All Stats and Data

Farrell was only kicking off his left foot during the warm-up and confirmation that he was carrying a niggle came when Elliot Daly stepped up to take the first penalty and kick for touch.

Saracens deserved their early lead, outmuscling the hosts and showing greater threat in attack with Daly rifling over another three points to underline their superiority.

ADVERTISEMENT

But in a flash Saints seized the lead, their own attack firing for the first time with short passes and solid carries driving them into the 22 where George Furbank pulled the trigger by sending centre Burger Odendaal over.

Furbank’s pass was delayed perfectly to suck in the midfield defence but Odendaal still had to show strength and pace to finish, although the South African was also helped by the line he had picked.

Smith landed three penalties as Northampton turned the screw and Saracens faced growing adversity with conspicuous knock-ons by Farrell and Daly inducing loud jeers from the crowd.

Crucially, Saints were accumulating points with their visits to opposition 22 even though they had lost the first-half penalty count 9-6.

ADVERTISEMENT

Saracens’ scrum was coming under pressure while in the backs Smith and Furbank were growing in influence for Northampton – until Farrell struck in the 54th minute.

The champions’ most impressive spell of attack reached its moment of truth when they probed down the left with Farrell producing a superb grubber that was skilfully collected and touched down by Alex Lewington.

The tension was mounting as Smith missed a penalty and Alex Mitchell was denied by a try-saving tackle by flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez, who somehow chased down the England scrum-half.

Smith was on target in the 60th minute to give Northampton a 19-13 lead and they were beginning to camp in the Saracens half with their scrum a powerful weapon that kept forcing penalties.

Over went another kick by Smith but Lucio Cinti ran in a late corner in the left corner, sending ripples of panic through Franklin’s Gardens until the final whistle blew.

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

1 Comment
T
Thomas 22 days ago

It was a great game. And the Saracens went down swinging. Love to root against them, they’re such a formidable rugby club.
It’s not going to be the same without Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola, etc. That’s some big teeth they’re going to lose.

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

TRENDING
TRENDING Jonny May shines as Barbarians beat Fiji at Twickenham Jonny May shines as Barbarians beat Fiji at Twickenham
Search