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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saracens edge Northampton Saints in Guinness Premiership semi-final

Saracens edge Northampton Saints in Guinness Premiership semi-final

On Sunday Saracens edged out Northampton Saints 21-19 to reach their first ever Guinness Premiership final after a tense finish at a packed Franklins Gardens. If youve not seen the highlights yet, here they are.

Schalk Brits, form hooker and one of the players of the season in the premiership, scored a late try that was coolly converted by flyhalf Glen Jackson, giving Saracens the chance to meet Leicester in the final on May 29th, after they beat Bath 15-6.

Jackson had earlier converted tries by Alex Goode and wing Chris Wyles, but the try of the match would probably go to Saints, and Tongan prop Soane Tonga'uiha who charged towards the tryline with time up in the first half.

He ran it in from about 45m out, a run which included a bit of a dummy, a step, and a handoff. Fellow prop Brian Mujait also scored, but it was Saracens who held their nerve to drive over for that late try to Brits.

On a sidenote, Saracens coach Brendan Venter was given a 14 week touchline ban after he was found to have made inappropriate gestures towards a spectator when they played Leicester a few weeks back. That would mean he will have no contact with his side during the final. They have launched an immediate appeal.

"The tribunal found Venter guilty of conduct prejudicial to the image of the game, and imposed a 14-week touchline ban," said Chief executive Ed Griffiths.

"In essence, Brendan stood up to follow play during the match at Leicester because he was given a seat with a restricted view, half a dozen Leicester supporters complained and this has now resulted in a substantial touchline ban, which may keep him away from the team on the day of the Premiership final.

"We will immediately appeal against this decision, and the RFU have indicated the appeal will be heard before the final."

In other related news, Saints wing Chris Ashton received the award for Guinness Premiership Player of the Season last night. Ashton scored 16 tries in 20 games.

"My Dad passed away about two weeks ago," he explained. "It was his funeral yesterday and he helped me get to where I am in rugby and I would just like to say thank you.

"It has been a big year for me. It took me a while to get the hang of this game, coming over from rugby league, and I think I am finally getting the hang of it," he said.

Please note that you can also catch all the Guinness Premiership highlights in the e-player on the sidebar here. This was posted anyway though, as many have requested it to be featured. For tickets to the final, check out the sponsored message below.

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