Match Report: London Irish 12-40 Saracens Men
An experienced Saracens proved too strong for a youthful London Irish at Twickenham Stoop, running out 40-12 winners.
Two scores from hooker Jamie George sandwiched four other first-half tries with Brad Barritt and Billy Vunipola crossing for Sarries and Augustin Creevy and Matt Williams for Irish.
The Men in Black completed a shutout of the hosts for the entire second 40 and Richard Barrington crossed twice to ensure a comprehensive victory.
Irish’s temporary home hasn’t been the friendliest of venues for Saracens over the years, but the Wolfpack got off to a flyer on 10 minutes.
Elliot Daly’s monster touch-finder presented George with a throw five metres out and the England man found Mike Rhodes’ leap before being marched over the whitewash by the rest of the pack.
Moments later it was a case of déjà vu, however this time Barritt was the beneficiary. George’s arrows were perfect and additional help from wing Sean Maitland led to the skipper’s third of the season.
The Exiles were in no mood to roll over and debutant Creevy got them on the board. A well-worked line-out move saw scrum-half Rory Brand snipe his way a couple of inches short and Argentina international Creevy made sure in burrowing fashion.
A pep talk under the sticks and Saracens were back in full flow. A series of bulldozing carries, in particular from Jackson Wray, marched the visitors up field and when a scrum free kick was awarded five metres out, Billy Vunipola went quickly, bounced a defender and dotted down on the stretch.
Staying true to an action packed half an hour, London Irish replied swiftly. James Stokes delivered a cheeky chip and chase, and Williams drove himself to the line with green shirts in support.
Another rolling maul resulted in George flopping over for his second ahead of the interval and it was one of his front row partners who followed suit with a double of his own in the second period.
After several phases were repelled, Barrington’s strong leg drive, assisted by Wray, got him over the whitewash and further power play got the loosehead over again just shy of the hour mark.
Saracens unloaded the bench thereafter and Dom Morris impressed with some hard-hitting, up front tackle to ensure the away side kept a second-half clean sheet.
Juan Pablo Socino thought he had grabbed his first try for his new club, bursting on to a Maitland pop but the Scotland wing’s pass was deemed forward.
Three wins in a row for McCall’s team who have three Premiership games before the European quarter-final showdown against Leinster.