Saracens - Match Report: Saracens 36-34 Ospreys

Oct 21, 2017

Match Report: Saracens 36-34 Ospreys

Saracens fended off a resurgent Ospreys side to secure a 36-34 bonus point win at Allianz Park.

Tries from Chris Wyles, Schalk Brits, Liam Williams, and Nick Tompkins kept Saracens in control of Pool 2; though a Dan Evans brace threatened a home upset for the defending champions that came right down to the wire.

The win sets up a December show down against last year’s finalists Clermont, who also won their second game, defeating Northampton 24-7.

The game opened as last week’s left off, as Alex Goode put in Wyles. However, moments later a slick offload from Kieron Fonotia saw Evans run in an equaliser for the visitors.

The Welsh side – full of confidence – stayed on the front foot, and after five further minutes in Saracens’ territory found their way through again, as Evans ran in his second.

Frustration began to show and uncharacteristic mistakes marred much of Saracens’ first-half. Calum Clark came within inches of scoring his second in two weeks though Ospreys held firm and kept the Men in Black out.

It was only on the half-time whistle - after being set up by a Williams chip-and-chase – that Mako Vunipola was able to put Brits in to tie the game.

More nerves opened the second-half, and Sarries were lucky that Evans fumbled a walk-in try within minutes of the restart.

But for all Evans had done to have Ospreys on the front foot, it was turned on its head when his deliberate knock-on gave Saracens a penalty try and saw him given a yellow.

A man up, Saracens began to show some of the precision they had last week. Young centre Tompkins broke down the wing and wonderfully put in Williams, securing the four-try bonus point.

But when Evans returned for Ospreys, the visitors once again came to life, and with ten-minutes left on the clock Owen Watkins made it a two-point game.

But it was substitute Tompkins that once again came to the rescue, running in Ben Spencer’s pass to give Sarries a nine-point lead.

A Sam Cross try made it a nervy finish, but Saracens did just enough on the day to walk away with a full set of points.

Saracens: Alex Goode, Liam Williams, Duncan Taylor (Tompkins 34'), Brad Barritt (c), Chris Wyles, Owen Farrell (Lozowski 78'), Richard Wigglesworth (Spencer 62'), Mako Vunipola (Barrington 67'), Schalk Brits (George 47'), Juan Figallo (Koch 50'), Nick Isiekwe (Skelton 75'), George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Calum Clark (Burger 57'), Jackson Wray.

Replacements: Jamie George, Richard Barrington, Vincent Koch, Will Skelton, Schalk Burger, Ben Spencer, Alex Lozowski, Nick Tompkins

Tries - Wyles(8'); Brits(40'+1); Penalty Try (54'); Williams(61'); Tomkins(73')
Cons - Farrell 3/4
Penalties - Farrell 1/1
Ospreys: Daniel Evans, Jeff Hassler (Davies 37'), Kieron Fonotia (Hook 67'), Owen Watkins, Cory Allen (Leonard 50'), Dan Biggar, Thomas Habberfield (Thomas 76'), Nicky Smith (James 64), Sam Parry (Baldwin 59'), Dmitri Arhip (Ma'afu Fia 55'), Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Guy Mercer (King 56'), Sam Cross, James King (Ashley 47-56).
Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Paul James, Ma'afu Fia, Lloyd Ashley, Gareth Thomas, Brendon Leonard, Sam Davies, James Hook.
Tries - Evans (11'&19'); Watkins (69'); Cross (79')
Cons - Biggar 4:
Penalties - Biggar 2/2
Yellow card - Evans (55'):
Scoring sequence:  5-0 Wyles try; 7-0 Farrell con; 7-5 Evans try; 7-7 Biggar con; 7-12 Evans try; 7-14 Biggar con; 7-17 Biggar pen; 10-17 Farrell pen; 17-15 Brits try; 17-17 Farrell pen; 17-20 Biggar pen; 24-20 Penalty try; 29-20 Williams try; 29-25 Watkin try; 29-27; 34-27 Tomkins try; 36-27 Farrell con; 36-32 Cross try; 36-34 Biggar con.
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