Milton Keynes was able to showcase its credentials for the Rugby World Cup 2015 as stadiummk played host to Saracens’ big Aviva Premiership clash against Northampton Saints.
In less than 24 hours stadiummk was named on a 17-long list by England Rugby as a potential stadia for the 2015 competition. mkstadiumtransformed from the home of MK Dons to a top flight rugby venue to host the battle of the two rival clubs. In October
The arena at MK1 was in use for the first time as it took on a fans’ village model with entertainment and refreshment facilities both pre and post-match.
A dramatic nail-biting encounter was played out in front of 18,856 supporters at MK1 saw a thrilling Saracens 17-16 victory over Saints to move to second in the Aviva Premiership table.
An array of internationals on both sides were on show and it was former South African hooker John Smit who breached the Saints try line within the opening 10 minutes with a rolling maul, but England fly-half Charlie Hodgson failed to add the conversion.
Hodgson did however add two penalties to extend the Men in Black’s lead to 11-0. However, Saints’ form picked up with Phil Dowson touching down and Stephen Myler adding the extras to pull them back to within four points.
The second half was set-up perfectly when Myler struck a penalty before the interval saw Saracens’ lead cut just to 11-10.
Another Myler penalty in the second half put the Saints in front for the first time in the game, but Saracens should have regained their lead but two kicks from Hodgson went missing as did one from his replacement Owen Farrell.
As time began to tick down Myler put Saints 11-16 before a tense finish ensued as two Farrell penalties saw Saracens edge ahead 17-16.
In the most incredible ending, Myler had a 80th minute penalty to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, however, the ball hit the bar to seal a single-point victory for Saracens.
The game itself though was secondary to another successful rugby outing for Milton Keynes.