NORTHAMPTON (19) vs SARACENS (21)
SARACENS hooker Schalk Brits hailed an incredible last-ditch effort after his injury-time try helped sweep the club into their first ever Premiership final.
Just as it seemed Northampton had done enough to edge a bruising play-off semi-final, Brits touched down and Glen Jackson converted to book Sarries a Twickenham date with Leicester.
Saracens went into the match with a dreadful record in recent play-offs and with Brits and boss Brendan Venter facing disciplinary hearings this week. But this season’s surprise package overcame those obstacles with a gritty display that Brits admitted ranked as one of his most gruelling tests.
“It was so physical, the toughest game I have played in during my career,” said the South African.
“But there is something special happening at Saracens. It is a special group of players who are all mates, and we enjoy what we are doing. It has been a great season, but we are not the finished product, and it is an amazing feeling being in the final.”
Full-back Alex Goode and win Chris Wyles scored the visitors’ other tries, while Saints’ touchdowns came from props Soane Tonga’uiha and Brian Mutaji.
A final against Leicester promises to be a spicy affair, as Venter and Brits will tomorrow attend hearings relating to incidents alleged to have followed their win at Welford Road earlier this month.
But with almost two weeks to prepare for that clash, Venter was yesterday content to revel in another scalp for his improving side.
“This is just a magnificent day for Saracens,” he said. “The margins between winning and losing are so small, and there is no doubt we could have lost that game.”
Disappointed Northampton boss Jim Mallinder insisted his season had still been a success. He said: “Last season we finished eighth and won the European Challenge Cup, this season we finished second and won the LV= Cup, so we are making good progress.”