Match report | Saracens Men 59 – 14 Ampthill RUFC
Saracens Men built some much-needed momentum ahead of the 2022/23 campaign with a 59-14 victory over Ampthill in the pre-season friendly at StoneX Stadium.
Mark McCall’s men scored nine tries in an attritional match up which will stand them in good stead for the new season, which is now just a matter of days away.
It was the visitors who got off to the dream start on a sunny evening at StoneX. A cross-field kick found Ben Cambriani on the left wing, and he stepped past the final defender to open the scoring. Tom Harwick’s conversion made it 7-0 with just two minutes played.
It didn’t take Sarries long to respond however, as Alex Lewington picked a great line from 30 metres out and danced through the defence to cruise through under the posts. Manu Vunipola’ extras levelled the scores with 10 minutes gone.
Both sides, who had a lack of game time in pre-season were clearly getting back in to match action with a number of near misses on show in the early stages.
Lewington crossed for his second just after the 20 minute mark as the Men in Black started to click in to gear. A scrum just 10 metres from the line gave them a great platform, and some neat interplay released the winger to dot down from close range. The conversion went just wide, but Sarries were in front for the first time.
The hosts, who were regularly in their opponents 22 capitalised on the pressure just before the break as they began to pull away. Nick Tompkins gathered the ball from first phase and used his power to bulldoze all the way to the line for try number three.
That proved to be the last act of a stuttering first half, as the North Londoners went down the tunnel with a 17-7 lead at the break.
Sarries began the second half in style with a long-range score to get the supporters out of their seats once again. Malins’ grubber through caused all sorts of bother for the defence, and it popped up perfectly for Ben Earl who was able to gather and dive over for try number four. The conversion from Vunipola meant that the hosts now had a 17 point advantage.
A penalty try then followed when a maul was powering over and was brought down illegally, as the hosts threatened to get out of sight in the early stages of the second 40 minutes.
Theo Dan then got one back for the visitors from close range just before the hour mark, but Theo McFarland flexed his muscles with 15 minutes to go to crash over the line.
The Samoan, who made such a big impact in his debut season made a great start to this one as he bounced off his opposite number to stretch over from two metres out. Vunipola’s conversion meant the lead was now up to 38-14.
A number of academy players then got their opportunity to make a mark at StoneX in the final 10 minutes, but the next score came from an experienced head as Elliot Daly’s brilliantly executed try saw him race away from 30 metres and go straight under the sticks.
Ethan Lewis added further gloss with a maul try just two minutes from the end, before Ben Harris scored the pick of the bunch with a beautiful finish to round off a dominant victory.
Sarries now head to Northampton on Thursday to kick off their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign at Franklin’s Gardens.