Match report: Cornish Pirates 25-17 Saracens Men
Saracens Men’s Greene King IPA Championship opener ended in a disappointing defeat as a late Rhodri Davies try saw Cornish Pirates triumph at Mennaye Field.
Scores from Sean Maitland and Alex Lewington either side of a Tom Duncan try and a Luke Scully penalty had given Sarries a slender 10-8 lead at the break.
But the hosts took advantage of their set-piece dominance to outscore Mark McCall’s side two tries to one in the second half and record a deserved victory.
The early signs were positive for Sarries as some patient work from the forwards had the visitors knocking at the Pirates try-line in the opening exchanges.
Their defence stood firm initially but when Aled Davies decided it was time to shift the ball wide it was Manu Vunipola who floated a pass out to Maitland, the winger finished strongly in the corner.
A Sully penalty got the Pirates on the board and they took the lead on 28 minutes through No.8 Duncan who had lined up Davies in the defensive line a few metres out and powered over.
Sarries had their second score and retook the lead five minutes before half-time as Elliott Obatoyinbo capitalised on a two-on-wide on the right to put Lewington in.
After the break it was the hosts who came out firing and breached the Saracens defence on 45 minutes when Dan Frost found the line after several phases of the pick and go.
There was a strong response from the visitors though as Tim Swinson muscled his way over five minutes later after Pirates had initially done well to stop the Saracens maul from 5m.
Vunipola converted to give Sarries a 17-15 advantage but a further penalty from Scully saw Pirates edge ahead with 25 minutes to play.
And the hosts made sure of the result right at the death when Sarries let a kick return bounce in their half and replacement Davies was quickest onto the ball to run through and score.