Aviva Premiership: Northampton upset Saracens to reach final
By Rob Lancaster. Last Updated: 13/05/13 6:58am
Northampton upset the odds with a 27-13 victory over Saracens at Allianz Park to set up an Aviva Premiership final showdown with Leicester.
After five previous failures at the semi-final stage, the Saints finally went marching on to Twickenham thanks to a stunning first 40 minutes that saw them score 17 points without reply.
Tries from the outgoing Brian Mujati and winger Jamie Elliott, who was then sin-binned in the second half, helped end Sarries' perfect record at their new home.
In truth the gap at the break could have been even greater had Stephen Myler not missed two penalties, while his offload to James Wilson would have resulted in a try had it not been a fraction too far in front of the centre.
Still, the fly-half did locate the posts to add the extras to Mujati's effort, the prop barging his way over for a try that was eventually awarded by the TMO.
Before Saracens had time to fully recover their line had been breached again, turnover ball from Samu Manoa's huge hit on Chris Ashton resulting in Elliott being set free down the left, the winger having far too much pace for the covering Steve Borthwick and Charlie Hodgson to deal with.
Myler added the extras again and rounded out the first-half scoring by booting three more points; in contrast, Owen Farrell's sliced penalty wide to the left summed up Sarries' uncharacteristically errror-strewn display.
Understandably the hosts did improve after the interval. Winger David Strettle blew a glorious chance when he went alone and was held up by Ben Foden, rather than using the supporting Chris Ashton to his right.
Farrell did finally get Sarries on the scoreboard with a pair of penalties but, just as a comeback seemed to be gathering momentum, Lee Dickson's pass down the blindside sent replacement GJ Van Velze trundling over for a converted score that came very much against the run of play.
Elliott somewhat blotted his copybook by tackling Farrell in the air, meaning he got 10 minutes in the bin and Saracens got the chance to attack with an extra man. They made the most of it, too, with a try on the left from Duncan Taylor.
However, Myler rubberstamped Northampton's trip to rugby HQ with a 73rd minute penalty, guaranteeing the East Midlands will be taking over the capital on May 25 when Saints take on the Tigers in a derby decider for the title.
Fri 24th Apr
Bath43 - 18London Irish
Sat 25th Apr
Sale Sharks23 - 25Harlequins
Gloucester42 - 40Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers38 - 17London Welsh
Northampton25 - 20Saracens
Sun 26th Apr
Wasps36 - 29Exeter
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 semi-finals
Mark McCall reflected on the "massive disappointment" of Saracens failing to reach the Aviva Premiership final.
Northampton shocked Saracens to reach the Aviva Premiership final after being inspired by Wigan's FA Cup heroics.
Pictures from Northampton's shock 27-13 Aviva Premiership semi-final win against Saracens at Allianz Park.