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Owen Farrell's Saracens career ends in defeat as Northampton stride on

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Friday May 31, 2024

Owen Farrell’s Saracens career has sadly come to an end after an enthralling occasion at Franklins Gardens this evening, with Northampton Saints beating the London based side 22-20 in front of a packed out, and fully engaged home crowd.

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Either way, it would have been the end of a glittering English Premiership club career for Lewis Ludlum or Courtney Lawes of Northampton if they had lost, but instead their exits will follow a day out at Twickenham in front of 80,000 fans as they approach the Gallagher Premiership final.

The match started with the former champions Saracens taking an early lead through the boot of Elliot Daly, as they took an early six point lead. The visitors looked prepared to disappoint the thousands of home fans that had hoped their side would progress from the semi-finals for the first time since they won the competition in 2014.

George Furbank soon gave the home fans something to cheer about as he proved why his value has shot up in recent times, with a wonderful step and offload to put powerful centre, Burger Odendaal in to score Northampton’s first for a score that Austin Healey would rate as “World class”.

Just moments later their lead looked to be in immediate danger, as Saracens hooker Jamie George crossed the line after a Saracens breakaway – but luckily for the home fans, the try was chalked off for offside.

As the first half trundled to its conclusion, it was clear that the tide had clearly set from left to right. Northampton were cruising, with the crowd and momentum well and truly behind them.

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Ben Earl found himself on the wrong side of the referees whistle after being too eager to recover the ball at the ruck, with Fin Smith pinging over the three in response. Next up, it was Jamie George to give away the penalty. In no mood for forgiveness, Smith once again punished the former Champions.

As the half hit the 40, another Smith beauty from the touchline took Saints ahead of one score, providing serious space between the two sides.

The second half started slowly until former England captain Owen Farrell showcased his world-class skill and vision. The 32-year-old broke the line in the Northampton 22, and proceeded to execute a delicate grubber kick to Alex Lewington on the wing for Saracens first try of the match.

This marked the beginning of a wild few minutes. Saints quickly surged down the other side of the pitch, nearly scoring after an impressive kicking run by Ollie Sleightholm, thwarted only by an unfavorable bounce. Saints’ relentless attack continued with a brilliant break from Mitchell, seemingly about to extend their lead. However, Saracens’ Juan Martin Gonzalez made a crucial covering tackle, preventing what could have been a seven-point score.

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Mitchell’s brilliant gainline breaking performance wasn’t to be dented for long, however, as another break shortly afterwards led to a Northampton penalty, allowing Smith to knock over yet another three points.

Saracens winger Lucio Cinti finished off a desperate Saracens attack to put the match on tenterhooks with just a minute to go, but it wasn’t to be enough.

Final score: Northampton Saints 22 – 20 Saracens

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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