Sarries make history with Wembley win

Saracens took a hard-fought win over Northampton Saints in the first club rugby game played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, ending up eventual 19-16 winners.

In front of 45,000 spectators, a new record for the club, Saracens put on a great pre-match show with acts from Diversity and The Lightyears, as well as a display from the Royal Marines.

Unfortunately the start of the match was not quite so entertaining.

With both teams defences being extraordinarily well organised the game became a kicking match within a matter of minutes, both teams continued to boot the ball up in the air in an attempt to gain ground and force the opposition into mistakes.

Both teams conceded numerous penalties in the first ten minutes before Glen Jackson finally gave the crowd something to cheer about when he struck a drop goal to put Saracens 3-0 in front.

Saints soon levelled. Ratuvou was slightly too eager in his defence and adjudged offside, and Saints fly-half Shane Geraghty landed a drop-goal before Saracens replied with a penalty from the restart.

Saracens started to make some headway towards the end of the second half as a good break down the right hand side touchline by Andy Saull led to Alex Goode breaking free.

The full-back chipped over the cover defender before promptly being taken out as he chased, the referee waved play on but a Saints player then deliberately batted the ball over the dead-ball line before the onrushing Cato could ground it, Jackson duly scored from the touchline penalty.

Both teams were up for playing some running rugby in the second half and it was the visitors who appeared more dangerous with the ball in hand, but as they pushed one overlap Noah Cato was able to collect a loose ball and sprint the length of the pitch for the first try, Jackson converted.

Northampton showed their spirit and attacking ability by hitting back straight after, a number of breaks through the Saracens midfield and some lovely offloading work led to a try in the corner for centre Jon Clarke, with Geraghty adding the two points.

Sarries then took their turn on the attack with a great break, ending in Chris Wyles being hauled down on the try-line, Saints deliberately killed the ball but much to the crowds surprise did not receive a sin-binning, despite the referee's constant warnings to the Saints captain.

Jackson missed the penalty but scored a further long range effort minutes later after a collapsed scrum.

A further two penalties from Geraghty led to an extremely fraught finish when Saints' giant prop appeared to have powered over the line, although the video referee adjudged that he had knocked on.

Saracens continued to gift their opposition ball for the remaining few minutes before finally pushing a Saints attack into touch, and getting their name in the history books with the first win at Wembley.