Match Report: Saracens Men 18-28 Wasps
Fourteen-man Saracens suffered defeat at home to a Wasps side with heavy top four ambitions.
Elliot Daly crossed early against his former employers, but four Jimmy Gopperth penalties gave the visitors a half-time lead.
A second home try from Sean Maitland followed three points from Owen Farrell to tip the game back in Sarries favour before the fly-half saw red for a poorly executed tackle.
Wasps capitalised on their man advantage with Tom Willis powering over and Gopperth knocked over the conversion, and two further kicks, to confirm the result.
It was Saracens who got off to a flying start, stamping their authority on the contest with several bulldozing carries up the middle. Vincent Koch’s truck saw him hauled down inches away from the whitewash and a quick clearout allowed the ball to be swept to the left and Alex Goode – on his 300th club appearance – had a simple pass to play in Daly.
Gopperth replied with a couple of shots at goal and the visitors had to absorb a heavy spell of pressure ahead of causing havoc of their own in open field.
Prop Biyi Alo was the unlikely man to be collecting metres and when he offloaded it took a perfect covering dive from replacement scrum-half Tom Whiteley to prevent a five-pointer.
Sarries were pinged shortly afterwards and Gopperth gratefully clipped over from close range.
In reply, a typical Maro Itoje turnover and monster punt to corner by Daly allowed for the Men in Black to display their power game once more.
Koch again piled forward in an almost carbon copy of the match’s opening try, but a slight error ended the opportunity.
A dominant Saracens scrum threatened on the Wasps’ line for a number of phases, however Lee Blackett’s men escaped without punishment and went down the other end to slot another penalty through Gopperth.
Farrell cancelled that out just after the interval and on 52 minutes he was involved twice as the Wolfpack went over for a second time.
First his quick hands released Jackson Wray on a charge and soon after Itoje’s short line created space out the back for Daly who received from Farrell and perfected a two on one for Maitland to dot down.
Gopperth nudged once more before the game’s turning point. Farrell, chasing his own up and under, got his tackle attempt all wrong and caught Charlie Atkinson with a swinging arm and saw red for his misdemeanour.
Goode and Gopperth exchanged penalties thereafter and the latter converted following a strong effort from Willis moments later as Wasps asserted their extra man.
Saracens searched for the score to draw themselves level and couldn’t manage to do so as Gopperth’s final contribution late one secured the Coventry outfit victory.