MATCH REPORT | Saracens Men 47-26 Scarlets
Saracens Men gave their fans the perfect start to the weekend with a convincing 47-26 victory over the Scarlets at StoneX Stadium.
The Men in Black scored seven tries in total in an entertaining friendly with the Welsh side, treating the crowd to an attacking exhibition under the floodlights.
Sarries got off to the perfect start and Olly Hartley crossed with just three minutes on the clock to open the scoring. Some early possession gave them commanding territory, and after Cameron Boon carried right up to the line a fizzed pass from Ruben de Haas found Hartley who bundled over from a metre out. The conversion from Manu Vunipola made it 7-0.
The Scarlets hit back almost immediately though when Steff Thomas rumbled over from a maul, and it got better for them when Carywn Tuipulotu became the beneficiary of some front foot ball to dot down for their second in quick succession. Dan Jones converted both, meaning all of a sudden the visitors held a 14-7 lead.
Josh Hallett had a chance to respond when the ball popped up to him after Rotimi Segun gathered a high ball, but it was called to have gone forward and we restarted with a scrum.
Toby Knight then scored a brilliant try to bring the hosts right back in to contention. Straight off the top of a lineout the ball was spun to the back-rower, and he stepped past three defenders before turning on the afterburners and racing clear to bring StoneX to its feet. Vunipola’s excellent conversion made it 14-14 with 15 minutes left of the first half.
Ben Harris then crossed for another stunner as the hosts went back in front. Segun’s outside break took play in to the 22, and then an inch-perfect cross-field kick found Harris in acres to dot down in the corner.
Ethan Lewis then marked his big day as captain with a try as the ball was shifted from left to right following Nathan Michelow’s break, allowing the skipper to stroll through for try number four.
That proved to be the last notable act of an entertaining opening 40 as Sarries headed down the tunnel with a 28-14 lead.
Sarries went down to 14 men early in the second half as Dom Morris was sent to the sin-bin, but they refused to let it stall their momentum as Nathan Michelow flew over the line for a brilliant solo score.
He stole the ball from the breakdown on half way, and then stepped past three men to create himself a run-in from 30 metres in stunning style. Vunipola was again on form from the tee, and the advantage grew to 21 points.
Try number six came just before the hour and it was the skipper who went over for his second of the evening. A penalty was kicked to the corner, and the maul powered over from five metres which allowed the hooker to break away at the base to score. The conversion went wide for the first miss of the evening, but Sarries now held a commanding 40-14 lead.
Knight was then the second Saracen to be sent to the bin with 15 minutes left after a succession of penalties, and the Scarlets took advantage straight away as Iwan Shenton drove over after sustained pressure for their third of the evening.
They started to sniff out a comeback minutes later as Dan Jones danced his way over after a neat set-play from a lineout, and his conversion cut the lead to 14 points with 10 minutes remaining.
That comeback didn’t materialise though, and Sarries put the icing on top of the cake with the final play of the game when Brandon Jackson strolled to the line. An outside break from Morris drew in the final man and he released the centre who was never going to be stopped form just inside the 22.
Vunipola’s conversion brought down the curtain on a thrilling evening ago StoneX as Sarries registered a confidence-boosting victory.
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