Injury-hit Saints are beaten at Saracens
Saints suffered yet more misery at the hands of Saracens as the black, green and gold were beaten 36-17 at Allianz Park on Saturday afternoon.
The home side had the try bonus point before the half hour mark and proceeded to pile on the pain, scoring six times in total.
To add to Saints' agony, they were dealt several injury blows, with James Grayson forced to withdraw after the warm-up, Paul Hill off with concussion and Fraser Dingwall also replaced during the first period.
Only second-half scores from Reece Marshall and skipper Lewis Ludlam gave Saints anything to shout about on another hugely difficult day against the current Gallagher Premiership champions.
Saracens scored more than 50 points in all four meetings with Saints last season - and they were impressive again at Allianz Park.
Saints had gone into the game on the back of four wins from their past five league matches, but they suffered problems before the game as Grayson picked up an injury, meaning full-back George Furbank was switched to fly-half.
Ahsee Tuala moved to 15, with Tom Collins coming in on the wing and Andrew Kellaway taking his place on the bench.
And Collins was called into immediate action as Sean Maitland beat the Saints wing to score in the corner after a rapid Saracens break.
Ben Spencer added the extras to make it 7-0 after just four minutes, but Saints quickly responded through a Rory Hutchinson penalty.
However, Saracens were soon back at the Saints door and with a penalty coming, they found it far too easy to engineer a second score, with Nick Tompkins turning on the turbos and cruising through a gap to dot down.
Spencer missed the conversion but Saracens were carving Saints apart with alarming ease, scoring a third try when David Strettle was afforded the freedom of Allianz Park to dot down on the right.
Spencer converted from the touchline and it was looking ominous for Saints, who were now 19-3 down with just 18 minutes gone.
And it was to get even worse soon after as Luther Burrell, on for the injured Fraser Dingwall, was sin-binned for persistent Saints offending.
Saracens took immediate advantage, grabbing the bonus point inside half an hour as Maitland made the most of acres of space to score his second try.
Spencer missed the conversion but his side were now 24-3 up, with Saints struggling to deal with the relentless home side.
It was soon five tries as Tom Woolstencroft rumbled over from a lineout drive and though Spencer missed the conversion, it was getting messy for Saints.
The second half started with more of the same as Saracens were awarded a penalty try 10 minutes into it for a no-arms tackle from Alex Mitchell.
Mitchell was sin-binned but Saints did manage to rumble over for a score from a lineout drive, with Marshall the man on the mark.
Hutchinson converted and Saints were now up and running, looking far more like themselves when Burrell and Hutchinson combined to send Ludlam over out wide.
Hutchinson again added the extras but the game then petered out as Saracens celebrated yet another win against Saints.
Saracens: Malins; Strettle (Wigglesworth 58), Tompkins, Barritt (c), Maitland (Gallagher 50); Goode, Spencer; Barrington (Lamositele 50), Woolstencroft (Gray 58), Judge (Koch 50); Skelton (Burger 58), Isiekwe; Clark (Kpoku 68), Earl, Wray.
Saints: Tuala; Pisi (Kellaway 60), Dingwall (Burrell 20), Hutchinson, Collins; Furbank, Mitchell (Reinach 60); van Wyk (Waller 61), Fish (Marshall 52), Hill (Franks 20); Ribbans (Moon 61), Ratuniyarawa; Gibson, Ludlam (c), Brüssow (Wood 64).
Referee: Luke Pearce