Premiership Rugby Cup Final: Northampton beat Saracens with three first-half tries
|Premiership Rugby Cup Final|
|Northampton (17) 23|
|Tries: Harrison, Wood, Tuala Con: Grayson Pens: Grayson, Francis|
|Saracens (9) 9|
|Pens: Malins 3|
Northampton Saints won the inaugural Premiership Rugby Cup with a battling victory over a youthful Saracens side.
The competition, which replaced the Anglo-Welsh Cup, has given teams the chance to use academy players.
But it was tries from three of Saints' familiar names, Teimana Harrison, Tom Wood, and Ahsee Tuala, which gave Northampton a half-time lead.
Two second-half penalties made it 23-9 and Saints closed the game out for a first trophy since 2014.
Saracens had won nine straight matches before the final, but Northampton named a starting XV with more experience in front of their own fans at a sold-out Franklin's Gardens.
Sarries' team, containing nine academy graduates, struggled to match Saints' pace and power before the break.
England number eight Harrison, returning from an injury lay-off, bulldozed his way to the try-line from 20 metres to open the scoring before fellow international Wood bundled over a second.
Samoan full-back Tuala managed to keep control of the ball and get it over the line under pressure to extend Saints' lead, although Max Malins' three penalties kept Saracens eight points behind at half-time.
However, they were unable to add any more points in the second half as Northampton dominated possession and blunted any threat when Sarries came forward.
Northampton: Furbank; Tuala, Burrell, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Mitchell; Waller (capt), Marshall, Hill, Moon, Ratuniyarawa, Wood, Ludlam, Harrison.
Replacements: Fish, Van Wyk, Franks, Craig, Gibson, Reinach, Hutchinson. Collins.
Saracens: Gallagher; Crossdale, Bosch, Morris, Segun; Malins, Whiteley; Barrington, Tolofua, Judge, Kpoku, Day, Clark (capt), Reffell, Earl.
Replacements: Gray, Adams-Hale, Thompson-Stringer, Isiekwe, Vailanu, Taylor, Griffiths, Lewington.
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