Saints down Saracens as London sides fall

SARACENS boss Mark McCall admitted his men had lost to the better side after Northampton Saints shocked them 27-13 in the Aviva Premiership play-offs yesterday to set up a debut final against Leicester Tigers.

McCall’s side topped the regular season league table and went into the clash as favourites but had no response to a first-half Saints onslaught as both Brian Mujati and Jamie Elliott crossed at Allianz Park.

Duncan Taylor’s try and two penalties from Owen Farrell threatened a comeback but GJ van Velze scored the visitors’ third try to seal a deserved victory and condemn Sarries to a second successive semi-final loss.

“We were really poor in the first half. Credit to Northampton because I thought that they were outstanding and forced us to make a lot of mistakes,” said director of rugby McCall. “It feels terrible but we have done a lot of good things this year at the club, we have won a lot of matches and progressed and grown as a squad.”

On Saturday champions Harlequins lost their semi-final as Leicester Tigers made it nine finals in a row with a 33-16 win, Niki Goneva, Tom Croft, Matthew Tait and Niall Morris scoring the tries.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby final has sold out for the last five years. To snap up one of the remaining tickets go to ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 844 0444.

SARRIES IN THE CITY
■ Rugby returns to the City on Thursday 16 May when Saracens host the South African Barbarians at the Honourable Artillery Company on City Road. Tickets are available at www.saracens.com