Saints boss hits out at Referee
REACTION: Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd suggested referee Adam Leal “didn’t have enough nuts” to award a penalty at a crucial stage of a 6-30 Premiership defeat by Saracens.
Saints dominated the first-half at Franklin’s Gardens and were camped in the 22 for an extended period, opting for three successive scrums under the posts as Saracens repeatedly infringed.
But on the third scrum Leal awarded the penalty against Northampton, allowing the visitors to escape and leaving Boyd frustrated.
“He didn’t have enough nuts did he? I mean it was a clear hinge. There was only one side under pressure in that series of scrums,” he said.
“But anyway. I certainly think we took the right option. We could have taken three points there but we spent a long time down there. For us to come away with three points would have been a victory for them.”
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The first-half finished 6-6 and when Saracens found a new gear by scoring tries through Alex Lozowski, Tom Woolstencroft and Maro Itoje, they emerged conclusive winners.
“I didn’t fear anything that Saracens did. At the end of the day we only got six points and they got 30,” Boyd said.
“We had half a dozen opportunities in the first-half, they had three and scored three tries. That’s the difference between the two sides.
“There’s some credit for Saracens. They have a very good defence and their game is a kicking-based game. We lost the kicking battle often and we didn’t want to get sucked into that kicking game.
“Obviously the rain didn’t help for us because it was greasy and hard to handle. If you lose the aerial ping pong against a team with a good kicking game, you tend to not get territory. But they also defend very well so credit to them.”
Saracens were a different team in the second-half as Saints were made to pay for their inability to get over the whitewash.
“We showed a lot of fight, grit and resolve and we had to tweak a few things in our kicking game and that allowed the rest of our game to lift,” said boss Mark McCall, who expects club captain Owen Farrell to return from his ankle injury against London Irish on January 23.
“We had a lot more energy in defence and we attacked a lot better in the second half and the set-piece went to a different level. Just a really good, hard-fought away win.
“When you’re under the pump as we were, in front of a great crowd as Northampton have, in your 22 as often as we were, you need your senior players to step up and I thought across the board ours did. I thought Maro had a big game.”
PA and Rugbypass