Jan 07, 2017
Last Minute Try Earns Heroic Draw For Resilient Sarries
It was a nailbiting end to the first game of 2017 at Allianz Park as Saracens and Exeter Chiefs played out a dramatic 13-13 draw in front of a sell out crowd.
Chiefs led for much of the game until a 75th minute try from Titi Lamositele, and the following conversion from Alex Lozowski, rewarded Sarries’ never say die attitude to give them a last minute draw and send the Allianz Park faithful to their feet.
A tough first half in misty conditions saw Saracens reduced to 14 men when Richard Barrington was red carded for a high tackle on Exeter’s Geoff Parling after just 10 minutes of evenly matched play between the sides.
Chiefs fly half Gareth Steenson converted the resulting penalty to put Exeter’s first points of the day on the board before the visitors were able to make the most of their numerical advantage five minutes later to score their first try. Jack Nowell, who was on the receiving end of a cross field chip, finding space on his wing to score in the corner. Steenson converted to give the visitors a 10-0 lead.
After the try Saracens rallied and, from a dominant scrum effort, won a penalty which Lozowski duly put between the posts to give the home side their first points of the afternoon with 15 minutes left to play in the half.
Sarries continued with their attacking efforts, pushing up towards the Chiefs 22 but the Exeter defence held firm to deny the battling men in black.
Exeter looked to be in for a second with minutes remaining in the half but for two stunning try saving efforts from Chris Wyles and Mike Rhodes which forced the ball out of Don Armand’s hands on the line to ensure only a converted try separated the two sides at the break.
The first points of the second forty went the way of the home side when Alex Lozowski slotted a penalty kick after 15 minutes of play, reducing the deficit to just four points as Saracens continued to maintain their intensity in the second forty.
A few minutes later Sarries were nearly in for a try when Chris Wyles ran onto a grubber kick but the winger couldn’t quite find his way to control the ball and in doing was penalised by the referee for knocking the ball down deliberately to give Exeter a penalty.
Roared on by an Allianz Park crowd in full voice Saracens continued to put in a performance which bellied their numerical disadvantage, the forward pack playing a key role as Saracens looked to pull themselves back into contention.
With just over ten minutes to play Sarries were penalised at the breakdown however, allowing Gareth Steenson to extent his side’s lead once again to seven points.
But Saracens had been battling all game and the resilient men in black still had one huge effort left in them as with five minutes to play they won the line out and drove towards the Exeter line. The forward pack, who’s efforts had proved so crucial all game, proved their worth once again and it was Titi Lamositele who carried the ball over the line to bring Saracens within two points of the Chiefs.
Lozowski stepped up to convert, sending the North Stand spectators to their feet as he slotted the ball between the posts in front of them to draw the game level.
With two minutes to play Steenson looked for a final drop goal to win it for the Chiefs but the effort went wide and after the restart Saracens were able to turn over the ball and clear to secure a memorable 13-13 draw.
15 Alex Goode; 14 Sean Maitland(Lamositele 14); 13 Marcelo Bosch( Tomkins 5;,rep Taylor 53 rep Spencer 70); 12 Brad Barritt (c);11 Chris Wyles; 10 Alex Lozowski; 9 Richard Wigglesworth;1 Richard Barrington (red card 11); 2 Schalk Brits( George 51);3 Juan Figallo(Koch 49); 4 Maro Itoje; 5 Jim Hamilton; 6 Michael Rhodes( Skelton 51) ;7 Kelly Brown( Burger 62);8 Jackson Wray:
16 Jamie George; 17 Titi Lamositele; 18 Vincent Koch; 19 Will Skelton; 20 Schalk Burger;
21 Ben Spencer; 22 Duncan Taylor;23 Nick Tompkins:
Scores Try Lamositele(74):
Penalties Lozowski x 2
Red card Barrington 11 min
15 Phil Dollman; 14 Jack Nowell; 13 Sam Hill; 12 Henry Slade( Whitten 63); 11 James Short; 10 Gareth Steenson (capt); 9 Will Chudley(Maunder 65) ; 1 Carl Rimmer( Moon 49); 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie( Yeandle 53); 3 Greg Holmes( Holmes 49);Ollie Atkins(Dennis 45);5 Geoff Parling (Lees 11);6 Don Armand; 7 Tom Johnson; 8 Thomas Waldrom:
16 Jack Yeandle; 17 Ben Moon; 18 Harry Williams; 19 Mitch Lees; 20 Dave Dennis; 21 Jack Maunder;
22 Ian Whitten; 23 Michele Campagnaro:
Scores Try Nowell(15):
Penalties Steenson x 2/4:
Scoring Sequence 0-3 Steenson penalty; 0-8 Nowell try; 0-10 Steenson con; 3-10 Lozowski pen;
6-10 Lozowski pen; 6-13 Steenson pen; 11-13 Lamositele try; 13-13 Lozowski con:
Man of the match: Richard Wigglesworth