Aug 19, 2017
Nine-Try Saracens victorious in Bedford Friendly
Saracens ran-in nine tries in a comprehensive 55-18 victory over IPA Championship side Bedford Blues at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.
After completing a warm-weather preseason training camp in Bermuda that included a 92-0 win over the USA Islanders, Saracens were back at Bedford’s homely surroundings for their customary preseason clash with the Blues.
In a competitive clash, tries from Schalk Brits (3), Richard Wigglesworth, Juan Figallo and substitutes Mike Ellery, Jack Nay, Tom Griffiths and Ben Earl overwhelmed a well-drilled Bedford Blues side.
The first-half was dominated by Saracens’ evergreen hooker Schalk Brits. The veteran South African crossed for a first-half hat-trick, but it was some of the former Springbok hooker’s touches around the park that impressed during his 40-minute cameo.
It was the Blues who opened the scoring though, with former Northampton Saints duo Will Hooley and Howard Packman inflicting the early damage with a penalty and well-taken try out wide from the former England U20 flyer, Packman.
Sarries steadied themselves, and despite showing some early rustiness the Men in Black soon stamped their authority on the game and the scoreboard through the pack. Three dominant driving mauls from Mark McCall’s side cancelled out Bedford’s early rally - that saw Packman cross for his second of the game midway through the first half - with Brits the beneficiary. Sensing another score from a Saracens driving maul, Bedford defended well but they had no answer to Richard Wigglesworth’s cute show-and-go on the stroke of half-time.
From the beginning of the second half Saracens made four half-time changes, with hat-trick hero Schalk Brits and lock forward Mark Flanagan replaced by summer signings Christopher Tolofua, Dominic Day. Ben Spencer also entered the fray as did Hayden Thompson-Stringer who impressed throughout his 40 minutes on the field with some strong scrummaging, devilish defence and impressive ball-carrying.
Saracens continued from where they left off in the first-half, using their forwards to damaging effect. After some bruising carries from front-rowers Hayden Thompson-Stringer and Christopher Tolofua had Saracens sniffing blood, Argentine prop Juan Figallo powered over from close range to register his side’s fifth try of the game.
The Blues hit back, with a try of their own after the break, but Sarries were complete control for the rest of the half. Saracens introduced prop forward Kieran Longbottom, now back at the club after a spell at Sale Sharks, back rower Ben Earl and back duo Nick Tompkins and Mike Ellery into the fold. It would be Ellery who was Saracens next scorer as he raced onto a loose ball to beat the Bedford cover to dot the ball down before Mark McCall introduced the rest of his bench, all of whom had either graduated from the Saracens Academy or were still plying their trade there.
On came the in-form Tom Griffiths, who continued his fine preseason form with a late try, wing Rotimi Segun, full-back Matt Gallagher, fly-half Max Malins, flankers Scott Spurling and Jack Nay and lock forward Joel Kpoku, who was making his first senior appearance for the club and impressed with his physicality and work-rate around the park.
Sarries, with their youthful and exciting side now assembled on the field, continued to chance their arm with the Malins, Griffiths, Tompkins axis in the Sarries midfield particularly eye-catching. After Jack Nay crashed over from close-range, Griffiths was the next scorer after a cute ‘one-two’ with wing Mike Ellery in the left-hand corner. Ben Earl wrapped up the scoring for Saracens who now face Timisoara Saracens in their final preseason friendly of the season at Allianz Park on Friday evening.
Saracens Team vs Bedford Blues
15 Alex Goode (Matt Gallagher 61’); 14 Nathan Earle (Rotimi Segun 61’), 13 Marcelo Bosch (Nick Tompkins 51’), 12 Duncan Taylor (Tom Griffths 61’), 11 Chris Wyles (Mike Ellery 51’); 10 Alex Lozowski (Max Malins 61’), 9 Richard Wigglesworth (Ben Spencer 41’); 1 Richard Barrington (Hayden Thompson-Stringer 41’), 2 Schalk Brits (Christopher Tolofua 41’), 3 Juan Figallo (Kieran Longbottom 51’), 4 Mark Flanagan (Dominic Day 41’), 5 Nick Isiekwe (Joel Kpoku 61’); 6 Calum Clark (Ben Earl 51’), 7 Schalk Burger (Scott Spurling 61’), 8 Jackson Wray (Jack Nay 61’)
Replacements (All used): Christopher Tolofua, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Kieran Longbottom, Dominic Day, Joel Kpoku, Jack Nay, Ben Earl, Ben Spencer, Max Malins, Nick Tompkins, Rotimi Segun, Matt Gallagher
Tries: Schalk Brits (x3), Richard Wigglesworth, Juan Figallo, Mike Ellery, Jack Nay, Tom Griffiths, Ben Earl
Conversions: Alex Lozowski (2/6), Max Malins (2/3)
Penalties - N/A