Northampton Saints 27-38 Saracens, Franklin's Gardens
Saracens maintained their perfect start in the ongoing Gallagher Premiership as they came from behind to defeat Northampton Saints 27-38 in the third round at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.
Saracens with 15 points continue to remain at second place in the table while Northampton slip to ninth place after succumbing their second defeat of the season.
The defending champions' indiscipline almost costed them the game and it started with a 14th minute sin-bin for Jamie George and the home side made most of the numerical advantage with Piers Francis crossing over in the 16th minute while Dan Biggar kicked a conversion and a penalty apiece to take them to a 10-0 lead.
Alex Lewington provided some respite for the visitors with back to back tries in the 27th and 32nd minutes as they went on to level the scores 10-10 before the break.
The Sarries had a better start to the second half when Ben Spencer dotted down in the 43rd minute followed by a conversion and a penalty goal from the scrum-half but their momentum was dented when Billy Vunipola, who made his first start this season was sin-binned in the 54th minute for collapsing a maul.
Northampton made most of the advantage with England captain Dylan Hartley on his first start since March after recovering from a concussion scored a 55th minute try and Ben Franks followed the suit with a 63rd minute touchdown. A double conversion from Biggar got them to a 24-23 lead which remained intact after he and Alex Goode traded penalties.
Nevertheless, Mark McCall's men dominated the final 10 minutes with a double from David Strettle in the 72nd and 75th minutes to complete a 27-38 win.
"We are really pleased to get any kind of win up here. We got our noses in front in the second half but they showed a lot of resilience to come back,", McCall told BBC.
"Our defensive maul was not good today, giving away two yellow cards, and that put us under enormous pressure and they got 14 points from those two situations.
"The rest of our game was in better order than it has been and we were much more physical and got over the gain line.
"We came back brilliantly when it really counted at the end of the match and showed our experience."
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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