Saracens ran in six tries in a highly entertaining clash at Allianz Park, as they beat the Scarlets 51 – 10 in the LV=Cup.
First half tries from Man of the Match Matt Hankin, Jack Wilson and Jackson Wray were followed up in the second forty by tries from Jamie George, replacement Nathan Earle and home debutant Tim Streather – Ben Spencer added 17 points from the kicking tee.
The first half was a fascinating contest where a youthful Scarlets team struggled to deal with Saracens’ power and precision as the home side scored three tries in a blistering 40 minute spell.
The visitors had the game’s first chance, as full-back Kristian Philips scythed down the right hand side of the pitch only to be bundled into touch by Jack Wilson, who produce a fine try saving tackle to keep the game scoreless.
Minutes later Saracens were awarded a penalty and fly-half Charlie Hodgson expertly booted Saracens deep in Scarlets territory, with a pinpoint touch finder.
From the resulting line-out Saracens went through the phases before Academy star Matt Hankin scored the game’s first try– the blindside flanker powered over to score underneath the Scarlets posts. Spencer made no mistake, with what was a routine kick for the scrum-half.
There was no rest bite for the Carmarthenshire side, as former England and Lions fly-half Hodgson dominated proceedings – the ex-Sale man continued to play flat bringing his back line into the game with a series of deft touches and passes.
One beneficiary of Hodgson’s guile was right-winger Jack Wilson, who collected a sumptuous Hodgson pass to waltz over for the games second try. Spencer added the extras with a finely executed conversion, from the right hand touchline.
To their credit the Scarlets hit back, first with a Josh Lewis penalty, and then with a try of their own by Dan Thomas. But soon after, Saracens continued to press home their superiority firstly with a Ben Spencer penalty, then right on half-time No.8 Jackson Wray powered over to the score. The rumbustious back row forward picked up from the base of the scrum and showed fine acceleration and determination to score – Spencer maintained his 100% record of the kicking tee converting the try.
After the break Saracens continued from where they left off, when hooker Jamie George scored to secure the bonus point for his side, collecting another killer pass from Hodgson to score unopposed under the Scarlets posts. In the build up to George’s try, 18 year-old Nick Tompkins (on his home debut) found Ben Ransom with a beautiful cut out ball, the ever dangerous full–back was tackled and after Saracens recycled the ball, Hodgson found the free-scoring hooker George who finished with ease to score his fourth try of the season.
With both sides committed to playing free-flowing attacking rugby, it could be excused that the game dipped in intensity for a period of time as both sides introduced their respective benches. As the game re-established some semblance of rhythm, Sarries once again crossed the white wash, as replacement Nathan Earle collected Ransom’s pass to score in the hand corner. In the build-up, Nils Mordt found Ransom with defence splitting pass – and the former England 7s captain converted the try from the touchline.
As the clock ticked closer to 80 minutes, home debutant Tim Streather scored a well deserved try, making it six for the Men in Black. Mordt converted as referee Martin Fox blew time on what was a highly entertaining and encouraging display from Saracens.
Try Scorers – Hankin (8mins), Wilson (13 mins), Wray (40 mins) , George (48 mins), Earle (72mins), Streather (79 mins)
Conversions – Spencer (4/4), Mordt (2/2)
Penalties – Spencer (3/3)
Saracens – 15. Ben Ransom; 14. Jack Wilson, 13. Tim Streather, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. James Short (rep Earle 61′)10. Charlie Hodgson (rep Mordt 49′) 9. Ben Spencer (rep De Kock 56′); 1. Jared Saunders, 2. Jamie George (rep Crumpton 61′) 3. Petrus Du Plessis (rep Stevens 54′) 4. Alastair Hargreaves (c) (rep Sheriff 56′) 5. Mouritz Botha (rep Barrington 64′) 6. Matt Hankin, 7. Jacques Burger (rep Stringer 54′) 8. Jackson Wray.
Replacements; 16. Max Crumpton, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Eoin Sheriff, 20. Hayden Stringer, 21. Neil de Kock, 22. Nils Mordt, 23. Nathan Earle.
Scarlets – 15 Kristian Phillips; 14 Frazier Climo; 13 Steffan Hughes; 12 Dylan Morgans; 11 Chris Knight; 10 Josh Lewis; 9 Aled Davies; 1 Rob Evans; 2 Darran Harris; 3; Ian Jones; 4; Johan Synman; 5 Richard Kelly; 6 Lewis Rawlins; 7 Dan Thomas; 8 Rob McCusker (capt).
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Shaun Hopkins, Adam Jamieson, Jake Ball, James Davies, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Aaron Warren.