Aviva Premiership: Saracens end Saints’ unbeaten start
Saracens dealt best with the difficult conditions at Vicarage Road to win 24-17 and end Northampton’s unbeaten start to the season.
The highlight of the match was an outstanding performance by Saracens Fly half Derick Hougaard, who scored all 24 of his side’s points. Four penalties from the boot of Shane Geraghty and a try from wing Paul Diggin were rare highs on a disappointing day for Saints.
The visitors had looked dominant in the early phases of the season but looked out of sorts on a greasy pitch in Watford.
Hougaard led from the front immediately and alleviated any pressure that was thrown at his side, despite having a lucky escape when an attempted clearance kick was charged down and almost converted.
The defeat sees Saints leapfrogged at the top of the table by London Irish, who impressed with a dominant win over Newcastle Falcons.
A hat-trick by Exiles winger Topsy Ojo, as well as 16 points from the boot of Ryan Lamb moved the Reading side top with a 46-12 victory.
Leicester Tigers were also in imperious form and bounced back from their defeat to bitter rivals Wasps last week with a 48-6 win over relegation favourites Leeds Carnegie at Welford Road.
Despite having both first and second choice fly halfs out to injury, a mature performance from youngster Billy Twelvetrees, and a host of tries from Tigers’ old heads Tom Croft and Alesana Tuilagi compounded Leeds’ woes, rooting them to the foot of the table.
Elsewhere, Gloucester won narrowly at home 22-20 against London Wasps after a last-minute penalty miss from Dave Walder handed the West Country side the win in front of a partisan crowd at Kingsholm.
And Harlequins brought newly-promoted side Exeter back down to earth with a resounding 40-13 victory at the Stoop, while Bath completed a 31-16 victory over Sale at the Rec.
This weekend’s Aviva Premiership results in full:
Bath 31-16 Sale
Gloucester 22-20 Wasps
Harlequins 40-13 Exeter
Leicester 48-6 Leeds Carnegie
Newcastle 12-46 London Irish
Saracens 24-17 Northampton