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Saturday, 28 April, 2001, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Saints march past Saracens
Northampton's Matt Dawson evades the challenge of a Saracens player
Matt Dawson scored two tries in three minutes
Northampton Saints 45-17 Saracens

Northampton produced a commanding performance to finally bring Saracens' disappointing season to a close with victory in their Zurich Championship play-off at Franklins Gardens.

The defeat ends Francois Pienaar's team's hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup next season.

The Saints now face the prospect of an intimidating semi-final tie with league champions Leicester at Welford Road.

The match started off in the best possible fashion for the visitors, who went ahead in the third minute when Darragh O'Mahony touched down after excellent work from centre Tim Horan.

And they extended their lead further when scrum-half Kryan Bracken peeled from the back of a ruck for a try converted by Jannie De Beer for a 12-0 lead.

But Northampton hit back when Luca Martin went over and then, in the 28th minute, Matt Dawson scored the first of his two tries.

The England scrum-half received an excellent delayed pass from Tim Rodber for the first.

Tim Rodber gets to grips with Kryan Bracken
Tim Rodber gets to grips with Kryan Bracken
And he then added five more points two minutes later when he capitalised on poor defending to sprint under the posts.

The home side went into the half-time interval with a 21-12 lead - and they soon extended that further when Rodber scored.

The former England player, who along with team-mate Allan Bateman was playing his last match for Northampton at Franklins Gardens, dominated proceedings in the forward line.

Although Saracens did their best to counter, their resistance was finally broken when Ben Cohen finished off a fine team move, and then hooker Steve Thompson went over in the 60th minute.

Flanker Andrew Blowers added another Saints try before O'Mahony rounded off the afternoon's scoring with a consolation try.

Northampton: Beal, Martin, Bateman, Leslie, Cohen, Grayson, Dawson, Todd, Thompson, Stewart, Newman, Brouzet, Rodber, Blowers, Soden.
Replacements: Richmond, Sturgess, Phillips, Seely, Bramhall, Hepher, Tucker.

Saracens: Sparg, O'Mahony, Horan, Johnson, Luger, De Beer, Bracken, Harbut, Russell, Flatman, Davison, Murray, Hill, Roques, Diprose.
Replacements: Cairns, Phillips, Roche, Cole, Walshe, Shanklin, Arasa.

Referee: Chris White (RFU)

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