Premiership: Northampton 27-38 Saracens
|Northampton (10) 27|
|Tries: Francis, Hartley, Franks Cons: Biggar 3 Pens: Biggar 2|
|Saracens (10) 38|
|Tries: Lewington 2, Spencer, Strettle 2 Cons: Spencer, Goode Pens: Spencer, Goode 2|
Saracens continued their perfect start to the Premiership season as they came from behind to win at Northampton.
Piers Francis's converted try and a penalty from Dan Biggar put Saints 10-0 up but Alex Lewington's brace drew the visitors level at the break.
Ben Spencer converted his own score to put Sarries in front before the hosts fought back with converted scores from Dylan Hartley and Ben Franks.
David Strettle scored two late tries to give Saracens a bonus-point victory.
In a game which swung back and forth, the defending champions almost paid for their ill-discipline as hooker Jamie George and number eight Billy Vunipola were both sin-binned.
Saints were able to forge a deserved early lead after George saw yellow following persistent infringements by Sarries at the breakdown.
Then, with Sarries leading 20-10 in the second half, Vunipola, who was making his first start of the season after breaking his arm in June, was sent to the bin for collapsing a maul.
England captain Hartley, starting for the first time since March after concussion, and Franks crossed to reduce the arrears, allowing Northampton to edge ahead twice as Biggar kicked them into the lead either side of an Alex Goode penalty.
But Goode and Liam Williams helped set up winger Strettle for two scores in three minutes to clinch the win for Mark McCall's side.
Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton:
"From an outcome point of view, an awful lot of blood, sweat, tears and effort have gone in to come away from that with nothing.
"But there were some bits in there that were really heartening and we had our chances. We didn't quite get it right at the end.
"I don't aspire to the way Saracens play their game but they are really good at what they do and are very clinical and ruthless, which is why they have been one of the best sides in Europe for the last three or four years.
"We need to absorb pressure and then when we get opportunities we need to turn them into points. We need to be more accurate with our skill-set under pressure."
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall told BBC Radio 5 live:
"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.
"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."
Northampton: Tuala; Naiyaravoro, Burrell, Francis, Collins; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (co-capt), Hartley (co-capt), Painter, Ribbans, Lawes, Haskell, Brussow, Harrison.
Replacements: Haywood, van Wyk, Franks, Ratuniyarawa, Gibson, Mitchell, Symons, Mallinder.
Saracens: Williams; Strettle, Lewington, Barritt (capt), Tompkins; Goode, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Skelton, Isiekwe, Rhodes, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Lamositele, Kruis, Earl, Wigglesworth, Lozowski, Maitland.
Sin-bin: George (14), Vunipola (54).
Referee: JP Doyle.