A last gasp try from Chris Ashton gave Saracens the perfect start to the 2013/14 Premiership season as they beat London Irish 42-20 at Twickenham Stadium in the first game of the London Double Header.
Owen Farrell kicked 22 points from the kicking tee, but it was Hooker Jamie George who picked up the Man of the Match award with a brace of first half tries – Saracens other tries came from returning British & Irish Lion Mako Vunipola and Ashton’s 8oth minute effort.
Saracens began with an Owen Farrell penalty after four minutes and minutes later from a Saracens line-out, hooker Jamie George collected Richard Wigglesworth’s flat pass to score the game’s first try.
Humphreys responded with a penalty for Irish as Farrell continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over with two penalty kicks of his own. The Exiles defence was beginning to creak, as Ashton went close in the 31st minute, but soon after Jamie George would be on the score sheet again as the Academy graduate collected a clever inside ball from Richard Wigglesworth to score in the right hand corner.
Irish immediately pegged Saracens back with a try from Kieran Low, but Saracens extended their lead right before half-time with another Saracens penalty after lock forward Alastair Hargreaves produced a stunning hit to win a penalty to go in 21-10 at the interval.
The second half exploded into action with a series of bulldozing carries from Billy Vunipola in the Saracens midfield, as Farrell added another penalty in the 41st minute before Mako Vunipola (just on for the impressive Gill) scored in the left hand corner after a spell on concerted pressure on the Exiles line.
Soon after Matt Stevens was yellow carded for taking the man out off the ball, and Irish made their numerical advantage count when Marlon Yarde scored for the Exiles. As the game petered out Farrell added another penalty, before Ashton scored at the death to secure the bonus point for Saracens.
Final Score – London Irish 20 – Saracens 42
Try : George 2, Vunipola, Ashton
Cons: Farrell 2
Pens : Farrell 6
15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 1 Rhys Gill, 2 Jamie George, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Steve Borthwick ©, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 6 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 8 Ernst Joubert
Replacements (All used)
16 Scott Spurling, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Ben Ransom