Saracens into final
A strong second half performance from Saracens saw them come from behind to beat Northampton 24-20 and qualify for next Sunday's final of the LV=Cup.
Before the interval, Northampton were totally dominant and looked in control of the match, building up a 13-5 half-time lead. However the home side, aided by the wind, launched a rally to run out narrow winners and so deprive Saints of a final appearance on their home ground.
David Strettle and Mike Ellery scored tries for Saracens. Ben Spencer converted one and kicked three penalties with Nils Mordt dropping a late goal.
Sam Olver scored all Saints' first half points with a converted try and two penalties. Lee Dickson scored their second try, which was converted by Stephen Myler.
Saracens included Strettle and Ernst Joubert in the starting line-up with their highly-promising lock, Maro Itoje, leading the side. George Kruis and Kelly Brown were both on the bench.
Northampton selected a strong pack with Alex Corbisiero, Samu Manoa and Sam Dickinson all included. Mike Haywood was at hooker for his 100th appearance for the Saints whilst flanker Jon Fisher returned after being out with an injury since November.
Saints began strongly and took an early lead. Olver first made a hash of a drop goal attempt but he was on target with a penalty after six minutes.
The visitors should have extended that lead but blew a golden opportunity for the first try. A neat break from Kahn Fotuali'i was carried on by Dom Waldouck but when the ball was recycled, Jamie Elliott knocked on with the line in sight.
Saints continued to dominate the opening quarter with the home side unable to get out of their own half and they were rewarded when Olver fired over his second penalty with an excellent touchline kick.
Eventually Saracens secured some possession to get a platform into the match. Marcelo Bosch made a strong run to put the visitors' defence on the back foot before the centre was again involved when his skilfully timed pass sent Strettle through a large gap through for the opening try of the game.
Kruis came on for Saracens replacing the injured Hayden Smith before Saints resumed control of the match. Fotuali'i again unlocked the defence to send Olver over for the try, which the outside half converted.
When Northampton surprisingly lost a scrum on half-way, Itoje burst away and looked a likely score but he was overhauled by Dickinson, who pulled off a superb cover tackle to keep his side 13-5 ahead at the interval.
Within a minute of the restart, Saracens scored a splendid try. Joubert won a line-out and a pre-planned move put Ellery in space for the wing to run elusively past a number of defenders for the try which Spencer converted before the scrum half added a penalty to put the hosts in front for the first time.
Assisted by the wind, Saracens were a totally different proposition in the third quarter as it was now Saints' turn to be hemmed in their own half and they fell further behind when Spencer knocked over two further penalties.
After 60 minutes, Saints introduced Myler and Dickson at half-back in an attempt to revive their fortunes and it soon paid dividends with Dickson nipped over on the blindside following a driving line-out with Myler converting with a brilliant touchline kick.
Northampton threatened a comeback but a late drop goal from Mordt saw Saracens to the final, where they will play either Leicester or Exeter, who play tomorrow.