Guinness Premiership
Jones impressed with Owen contribution
September 27, 2008
Michael Owen of Saracens holds the Guinness Man of the Match after his teams victory during the Guinness Premiership match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Vicarage Road on September 27, 2008 in Watford, England.
Michael Owen with his man-of-the-match award © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Michael Owen
Tournaments/Tours: Guinness Premiership
Grounds: Vicarage Road

Owen's first try in the Guinness Premiership secured Saracens' 26-12 victory over promoted Northampton as they won for the second time in six days at Vicarage Road.

''He's certainly displaying some of the form we saw with Wales a couple of years ago. He's a very talented player,'' said Jones, who is also delighted with England lock Steve Borthwick, another of his close-season arrivals.

''Borthwick just works hard and I'm really happy with his contribution. Both those guys have fitted in really well.''

Saracens finally ground out the victory despite failing to hit the heights they displayed in Sunday's 44-14 home victory over Newcastle.

''The application was excellent. We really stuck in in the second half,'' said the former Australia coach, who took over as director of rugby after the departure of compatriot Alan Gaffney at the end of last season.

Jones added: ''We probably started the game a little bit too easy and got a little bit loose in the way we played but you've got to give a lot of credit to Northampton.

''They scrapped and fought hard at the tackle contest. Jim Mallinder is doing an excellent job with them and they are a side that fight very hard.''

Opposite number Mallinder, whose hopes crumbled when replacement scrum-half Ben Foden and hooker Dylan Hartley were sin-binned within six minutes of each other - offences which both led to tries - said: ''Saracens put us under a lot of pressure and once you lose two men you really are struggling.''

But he declined to comment about the sin-binnings by referee Martin Fox, criticised this week by RFU disciplinary chief Judge Jeff Blackett over events surrounding the one-match ban handed to Wasps and England star James Haskell.

''I'll have to look at it. I was at the other side - no comment,'' he responded.

''We played quite well the first half. We knew coming down here is difficult.

''They have a big set of forwards, a good scrum and a good lineout so you have to fight for every single bit of possession you possibly can and we did that.

''You have to make the most of the opportunities, especially when you play away from home, and that's something we didn't do.''


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