Champions Cup: Saracens 62 Northampton 14
PUBLISHED: 17:28 20 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 20 January 2018
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Saracens did everything that was asked of them with a 62-14 bonus-point win over Northampton Saints putting them on the verge of qualification for the quarter finals of the Champions Cup.
They had ran in five tries before half-time and added another two after the break, with all seven being scored by different people.
Mako Vunipola, Alex Goode, Marcelo Bosch, Richard Wigglesworth, Vincent Koch, Sean Maitland and Sione Vailanu all crossed the whitewash while Owen Farrell converted six of them in a personal total of 27 points.
It leaves the holders on the cusp of qualifying from Group B but they will still need to check results tomorrow.
The two tries they conceded were similar in that both saw the signalling of a knock-on lead to a seemingly momentary lapse in concentration.
Cobus Reinach took advantage of the first, scampering in unopposed from the 22, and Nafi Tuitavake claimed the second, although that was also down to good hands after Ben Foden had started to run it back.
That give the visitors a 14-10 lead after 18 minutes but that was also about it from them as an attacking force as Sarries upped the gears after that.
And boy were they impressive.
Vunipola had already got their first after the forwards had bashed it forward through a number of phases but the second try brought the biggest cheer as Goode, making his 250th appearance in the black shirts, benefitted from a superb Farrell break which left an easy finish.
Bosch got number three and Wigglesworth the fourth after great work between Goode and new England recruit Nathan Earle.
The fifth came on the last play of the half as Sarries made the kick to the corner work, with Koch powering over from short range.
The second period was all about making sure nothing daft happened and they did it perfectly.
Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over with two early penalties and added two more inside the last 11 minutes.
In between he converted twice as Maitland finished off a simple ‘through the hands’ move and then Vailanu scored a debut try, crashing over from a five-metre scrum moments after coming on as a replacement.
One little side attraction was the battle between the two England hookers, Jamie George and Dylan Hartley.
When George went off, he did so to a huge ovation and it was well deserved as, like in most areas of the park, Saracens had the edge up front with a number of scrums won against the head.
It would have been a pleasing moment for the Welwyn Garden City-born number two who did his chances of starting for England in Rome no harm at all.
The game petered out to a quiet finale but it deserved it after an enthralling show from the hosts.