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Saints end Sarries' run

Sat, 26 Oct 2013 19:03
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Saracens suffered their first loss against the season as Northampton Saints claimed a 41-20 bonus-point victory at Franklin's Gardens.

Both sides were minus a number of star names ahead of the autumn internationals, but still produced a titanic battle more than worthy of being top of the Premiership billing this weekend.

Ben Foden scored two second-half tries to give England boss Stuart Lancaster a timely nudge ahead of the autumn internationals; as he came out on top in the battle of the No.15s with Saracens' Alex Goode, with Northampton scoring six tries in total.

Stephen Myler opened the scoring for Northampton Saints with a penalty after five minutes, while Goode - kicking in the absence of England No.10 Owen Farrell - replied three minutes later for Saracens.

Jamie Elliott produced a moment of magic at both ends just after the ten-minute mark, firstly he scored the game's opening try - comfortably converted by Myler - and then made a try-saving tackle at the other end of the pitch as former England wing David Strettle seemed certain to score.

England hopeful Foden experienced a mixed opening quarter of the game for Saints; firstly he got lucky knocking the ball behind under pressure from Sarries wing Michael Tagicakibau and then saw Goode unluckily penalised for knocking the ball on inside the in-goal area after initially holding his England rival up over the line.

Northampton's England hopeful Luther Burrell was next to impress on 25 minutes; he bulldozed his way up to the Sarries' 22 and as the ball was recycled second row Samu Manoa beat two defenders and then sidestepped Goode to score his third Premiership try of the season under the posts - again Myler converted.

Just before the half hour Goode missed a kick at goal to drag Sarries back into the game but on the stroke of half-time the England man redeemed himself with another penalty - this time he was successful from right in front of the posts to leave the score 17-6 to Saints at the break.

Northampton started the second-half like an express train and scored their third try after just three minutes.

After a powerful break in midfield by George Pisi, play continued and fellow centre Burrell was held up short of the Saracens line, but Foden managed to burrow over in the ensuing play, helped by skipper Phil Dowson - Myler missed his kick at goal this time.

And it got even worse for Saracens on 51 minutes as Foden scored his second try of the half, with Myler adding the extras to put Northampton all but out of sight.

Sarries centre Duncan Taylor, playing in the absence of Brad Barritt and Joel Tomkins, gave Mark McCall's men hope with 20 minutes to play as he changed the angle of his running line to grab a pass from Nils Mordt and score under the posts - Goode added the conversion.

The comeback lasted less than 60 seconds though as George and Ken Pisi produced a sublime interchange and offload to put Burrell over Northampton's fifth try of the afternoon - Myler added the extras.

After an elongated look from the television referee, Kelly Brown was awarded a close range score on 67 minutes and Goode brought the score back to 36-20 with the conversion.

But Northampton again came back at Saracens and after a flowing move involving James Wilson, Ken Pisi was given a run in from the halfway line on 71 minutes to take the Saints past 40 points in the game.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries:
Elliott, Manoa, Foden 2, Burrell, K Pisi
Cons: Myler 4
Pen: Myler

For Saracens:
Tries:
Taylor, Brown
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Goode 2

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Phil Dowson (captain), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Dom Waldouck, 23 James Wilson.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle; 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements:16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 James Johnston, 19 Mourtiz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Ben Ransom.

Harlequins 24-3 Sale Sharks

Second-half scores from Luke Wallace and Jack Clifford helped to lift the gloom over the Twickenham Stoop as Harlequins strolled to a comfortable 24-3 Premiership victory over Sale Sharks.

The hosts were not at their fluent best but a strong defensive display, even without England internationals Mike Brown, Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw, guided them to a third league win of the season.

Ben Botica kicked 14 points for the Quins with Sale's sole tally coming from the boot of former England international Danny Cipriani.

The hosts had to wait until after the interval to finally make their dominance county as Wallace and replacement Clifford both went over to ensure Conor O'Shea's side brought a halt to their four-game losing run.

Harlequins applied the early pressure and captain Nick Easter went close to scoring the first try after three minutes, but a TMO decision showed the ball was held up brilliantly by Sale scrumhalf Dwayne Peel.

Sale defended impressively in the scrum but Danny Cipriani's high tackle on Joe Trayfoot gifted Harlequins a penalty on 18 minutes and Ben Botica duly kicked over the posts for a 3-0 lead.

The visitors began to work their way into the contest and Cipriani atoned for his error, scoring a penalty after Harlequins failed to release the tackled player at the breakdown.

However, Dan Braid left his hands in at the ruck and David Seymour was penalised for going off his feet, allowing Harlequins to take a 9-3 lead into the break with Botica's second and third successive efforts.

It was not all good news for Harlequins however. Already burdened with a lengthy list of absentees including captain Chris Robshaw, they witnessed Tom Guest suffer a nasty neck injury and a head wound to Trayfoot, allowing Clifford and George Merrick to enter the action.

Quins' momentum continued after the break and after switching the ball from right to left, Nick Evans' cute chipped kick set up Wallace to go over in the corner for the game's first try on 47 minutes. Botica's conversion hit the post.

Wallace's pace then won a penalty when Mark Cueto tackled him off the ball and the all-time Premiership try scorer was fortunate not to be sin-binned, as Botica made it 17-3.

And Clifford, captain of the England U20 side that stormed to the IRB World Junior Championship title this summer, made sure that Harlequins didn't slip further down the table as he charged down Joe Ford's kick to storm clear and dive over under the posts with twelve minutes to play.

Botica duly converted, consigning Sale to a first defeat in four matches in all competitions and lifting the Stoop outfit up above their conquered opponents in the table.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries:
Wallace, Clifford
Con: Botica
Pens: Botica 4

For Sale:
Pen:
Cipriani

Harlequins: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Ben Botica, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (captain), 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Merrick, 20 Jack Clifford, 21 Danny Care, 22 Paul Sackey, 23 Charlie Walker.

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Mark Easter 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Tom Holmes, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Andy Forsyth.

Exeter Chiefs 40-6 Worcestor Warriors

Ben White grabbed a try either side of half-time as Exeter Chiefs ensured Worcester Warriors struggles continued with a rampant 40-6 bonus-point victory at Sandy Park.

White was joined on the scoresheet by Dean Mumm, Phil Dollman, Damian Welch and Haydn Thomas as Exeter recorded their fifth straight Premiership win over the Warriors.

It was a perfect response to last week's Heineken Cup defeat to Glasgow Warriors and keeps Rob Baxter's charges within touching distance of the leading pack at the Premiership summit.

Worcester - who are still without a win in all competitions since beating London Irish on March 1 - were limited to just six points from the boot of former Chief Ignacio Mieres, with defeat leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table.

The home side signalled their attacking intent from the outset, going for the corner after just four minutes with the strong wind making goal kicking an unattractive prospect.

And from the line-out they applied the pressure, with the ball going through the hands of Fetu'u Vainikolo, Dave Ewers and Brett Sturgess before White burrowed over from close range, Gareth Steenson converting.

The Warriors responded immediately, with Mieres kicking off his return to Sandy Park with a well-struck penalty in the blustery conditions.

But it was the Chiefs who looked more promising with ball in hand and had doubled their score five minutes later, with fullback Dollman tearing a huge gap in the Warriors backline with a superb turn of pace.

Clever hands from Steenson then allowed lock Mumm to gallop to the whitewash unopposed, and the provider then added the extras as Exeter raced into a 14-3 lead.

The opening spell suggested Exeter were about to run away with the game but the wind made kicking next to impossible - though Mieres struck the upright with his next penalty attempt at the other end - and both sides struggled to break each other down.

There was no further scoring until the 31st minute, with Worcester's Argentine flyhalf making no mistake with his next kick, splitting the posts to narrow the gap to eight points at half-time.

After the interval Jason Shoemark knocked on a golden opportunity for Exeter to extend their lead, but they did not dwell on the mistake and made amends just two minutes later, White charging down a box kick and touching down for his fifth try of the season, with Steenson again converting to extend the lead to 21-6.

And the Chiefs had the bonus wrapped up before the hour mark, Dollman finally getting the try his performance deserved after latching on to a perfectly weighted Tom Johnson pass to cross in the corner, ensuring Baxter will have a selection dilemma when Luke Arscott returns from injury.

Steenson added an excellent conversion from out wide to stretch the lead to 28-6, and in the closing stages White unselfishly put Welch through for a fifth Chiefs try when he could have easily gone over for his third of the day.

Thomas rounded off the afternoon with another try seven minutes from time as they extended the lead to 40-6 - which it remained despite Exeter pushing for a sixth try right until the final whistle.

The scorers:

For Exeter:
Tries:
White 2, Mumm, Dollman, Welch, Thomas
Cons: Steenson 4, Slade

For Worcester:
Pens: Mieres 2

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Tom James.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Jonny Arr,8 Jonathan Thomas (captain), 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Richard de Carpentier, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Dean Schofield, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Jeremy Becasseau, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Chris Jones, 21 Jeremy Su'u, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Ben Howard.

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