LONDON - Northampton Saints became English rugby union champions for the first time in their history yesterday, beating Saracens 24-20 with a last-minute try by Alex Waller in extra-time in the Premiership final at Twickenham.
Northampton's victory came just over a week after they had beaten fellow English side Bath in the European Challenge final and meant double heartbreak for 2011 English champions Saracens, who lost to French side Toulon in the European Cup final last Saturday.
The game went into extra time with the sides locked at 14-14.
It was still level at 17-17 before Charlie Hodgson kicked Saracens ahead.
But it was Waller who dived under a heap of bodies at the death to claim the try although a drop goal would have been sufficient as they had outscored their opponents two tries to one at that stage.
It took a couple of minutes for the video referee to tell referee JP Doyle he could award the try.
The Saints dropped to their knees in joy and celebration while the Saracens were left distraught.
"I haven't slept all week and now a finish like that, I don't think I've got any hairs or fingernails left," Northampton captain Dylan Hartley told BBC radio.
"It means everything to win it. We were so close last year. I'm proud to do it, not just for the town, but for all these special people here. I'm so proud of the squad."