Saints snatch victory from Sarries

Northampton beat Saracens 24-20 in the English Premiership final at Twickenham after being awarded last-minute a try by the TMO in extra time.

After 100 minutes of a thrilling, no-holds-barred battle, Alex Waller drove over amid a heap of bodies. The TMO was asked a tough question: Try, yes or no? There was enough to suggest he had scraped the whitewash.

The TMO had been involved before, first when he ruled that a Saracens pass had been forward in the build-up to a touchdown by Owen Farrell, and again when he confirmed that Billy Vunipola had taken out a defender as Chris Ashton had scythed through on the way to the line.

But if those had been big decisions, there were two greater moments: when Northampton effected two crucial turnovers as Saracens pushed through phase after phase, hammering at the line. The Londoners' try came from a brilliant offload by South African Schalk Brits to put Marcelo Bosch through the gap. That brought the scores to 14-14, and it looked as if Saracens had regained the momentum just seven minutes from time. They trailed 7-6 at half-time to a try by Ben Foden after a multi-phase attack, and then were 14-9 behind after a try by George Pisi, the grateful recipient of a superb grubber by Stephen Myler.

In extra time, Saracens had gone ahead twice through penalties by Charlie Hodgson until Northampton laid siege to the Saracens line, an attack which eventually ended under the posts with Waller's drive.

Saracens, who had led the way in the Premiership, losing just three matches and topping the table nine points clear, and fought their way to the final of the European Cup, now come away with nothing to show for their season.

Saracens – Try: Marcelo Bosch. Penalties: Farrell (3), Hodgson (2).
Northampton – Tries: Ben Foden, George Pisi, Alex Waller. Conversions: Stephen Myler (3).

Saracens – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 James Johnston, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20  Jackson Wray, 21  Richard Wigglesworth, 22  Charlie Hodgson, 23  Chris Wyles.

Northampton – 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood (c), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Corbisiero
Subs: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Christian Day, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 James Wilson, 23 Tom Stephenson.

Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images