Saints reach Premiership final at Twickenham

Northampton celebrate following victory in the Aviva Premiership Semi Final match at Allianz Park, London.
Northampton celebrate following victory in the Aviva Premiership Semi Final match at Allianz Park, London. Photo: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Northampton Saints produced one of their best performances of the season to clinch a place in the Aviva Premiership final at the expense of table toppers Saracens.

Tries from Brian Mujati, Jamie Elliot and Gerrit-Jan van Velze helped the Saints to victory by 27 points to 13 at Allianz Park.

It was Saracens' first defeat at their new ground, which houses an artificial surface. A case of practice-makes-perfect for the Saints, who spent most of last week training on a similar surface at Tresham College in Kettering as part of their preparations.

As well as the tries, kicker Stephen Myler added twelve points with three conversions and two penalties.

Northampton finished fourth in the Premiership table, and had only won one of their last ten meetings against sides from the top three before this game.

And they never looked back after racing to a 17-0 lead at half time, although thoughts of the 2011 Heineken Cup Final must have emerged.

Against Leinster, Northampton led 22-6, only to lose 33-22 in one of the biggest turnarounds in cup rugby.

Saracens did cut the Saints' lead to 24-13 after Elliot was sent to the sin bin. But Myler's second penalty eight minutes from time just took the game out of their reach.

Speaking after the game, Northampton's Director of Rugby, Jim Mallinder, said "We have had an up and down season. We have come in for a great deal of criticism along the way, a lot of that quite rightly.

"We have not beaten a top three team all season. We have known that. We have been reminded so many times.

"The players have responded. They have known they are good enough."