“I think the team did well to put in the overall performance that we did, especially in the first half. It was a good performance given what we’d gone through the week before.”
A brilliant first-half performance helped Saracens to a 31-14 victory over Wasps in the Gallagher Premiership.
It was the second time in a week Sarries had recorded a win at the Ricoh Arena having progressed to the Heineken Champions Cup final in Coventry last time out.
Ben Spencer’s early interception set the tone before an Owen Farrell penalty and Liam Williams effort made it 15-0 after 20 minutes.
Wasps fly-half Lima Sopoaga’s try was cancelled out by the rampaging Will Skelton and two more Farrell kicks at goal which gave the away team a commanding lead at the interval.
Farrell nudged his fourth penalty of the day before Nathan Hughes barged his way to the line late on with Sarries down to 14 men.
Saracens’ line speed and physicality were spot on in the opening exchanges and the former led to Spencer opening the try. The scrum-half timed his defensive run to a tee to collect a stray home pass and run in unopposed.
Farrell added three points to his conversion 15 minutes before Wasps showed attacking prowess for the first time. Marcus Watson weaved his way through a gap down the left and kicked through but Spencer was on hand to usher the ball to safety.
Sarries’ response was clinical. Spencer was yet involved spinning wide to Alex Goode and the full-back evaded Elliot Daly’s challenge to send Williams over on the dive.
The visitors were in cruise control, however they were reminded they were in a contest when Kearnan Myall’s trot sent Sopoaga in and the All Black got up to convert his score.
Six more points from Farrell’s boot came in the first period for Mark McCall’s side, the second attempt following a superb effort from Skelton.
The Australia international displayed beautiful handling moments earlier to set Nick Tompkins on a burst and then produced another piece of magic, this time sprinting home from the 10-metre.
Early in the second half Sarries were made to work hard to preserve their large advantage. Their defence proved too strong for Wasps to break down and a sublime turnover on his own line by Maro Itoje relieved pressure.
In attack, Spencer was key. The England nine looked for to snipe at every opportunity and twice almost made his way in for his second of the game.
Brad Shields tried to follow Skelton’s antics with a sprint from deep only for Watson to fumble at the last and Craig Hampson went close before Nick Isiekwe was sent to the sin bin a minute after coming on.
That led to Hughes crashing over for Wasps’ second try in consolation but Sarries had done enough work earlier on in the match for victory.