Eight-try Saracens begin their European title defence in style with thrashing of Northampton

Ross McLean
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Northampton Saints v Saracens -  Champions Cup
Liam Williams scored two of Saracens' eight tries against Northampton (Source: Getty)

Saracens boss Mark McCall revelled in his side’s best performance of the campaign and the message it sent out after the defending European champions thrashed Northampton 57-13 at Franklin’s Gardens.

After winning four of five matches since a 55-24 hammering by Saracens in the season opener, Northampton had hoped for better but were ruthlessly demolished by the visitors, who ran in eight tries.

Wales wing Liam Williams crossed the line twice, while skipper Brad Barritt, flanker Calum Clark, front row duo Vincent Koch and Mako Vunipola as well as replacements Alex Lozowski and Ben Spencer also touched down.

“It was definitely our best performance of the year and one of the real pleasing things was how long we sustained that for,” said McCall.

“The group challenged themselves at half-time to maintain the intensity that was shown in the first-half whether we had the ball or they had the ball and you saw evidence of that.

“I think it was Jackson [Wray] and Owen [Farrell] that tackled Courtney Lawes five metres from our goal line and it kind of typified how much it meant to us not to concede a try.

“We fought with everything that we had. We defended well in that second-half and played some really good stuff with the ball in the first half.”

Northampton’s misery was compounded by a knee injury to wing George North, who had to be helped from the field on 28 minutes, which could affect his availability for Wales's autumn internationals next month.

While Northampton visit last season’s runners-up Clermont Auvergne on Saturday, Saracens host Ospreys. McCall added: “It’s obviously crucial that we back up what happened tonight. It’s huge for us.”

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