Dec 27, 2015
Saracens head into the New Year unbeaten
Saracens will head into the New Year unbeaten after they dispatched Wasps 26-16 in round seven of the Aviva Premiership at the Ricoh Arena.
Fly-Half Owen Farrell collected a personal haul of 21-points as the reigning league champions moved back to the top of the Premiership with a professional performance in Coventry. A try from Duncan Taylor in the second half broke the deadlock of a tense contest, before Farrell crossed for a score to keep the Wasps at arms-length.
The contest was low on action but Saracens recorded their seventh win of the season without really being threatened by Dai Young’s revitalised Wasps side.
Saracens gained an early lead from an Owen Farrell penalty after just one minute’s play, after scrumhalf Dan Robson was penalised for playing the ball in an offside position.
Farrell doubled his tally minutes later after a scrum penalty, giving Saracens a six nothing lead after ten minutes play.
In slippery conditions both side’s kicked the ball when in their own territory, as Wasps put boot ball on 26 occasions during the first forty minutes. Saracens pressure on Wasps kickers was a stand-out of the opening half. On numerous occasions the Sarries kick chasers harried Jimmy Gopperth into a clearance kick, with Mako Vunipola and George Kruis both charging down the New Zealander.
There was little try line action to speak of the first half. Wasps hit back with a penalty through Gopperth, as the contest continued its cautious theme with neither side looking to play in their own half.
Before half-time, Elliot Daly missed a long range penalty attempt as Sarries went into the break with a slender 6-3 lead.
After the halftime oranges, Daly and Farrell traded penalties, before Wasps began to find their feet in the contest. Strong carries from wings, Frank Halai and Charles Piatau, plus hooker Ashley Johnson were met with some typically aggressive defence from Saracens. Billy Vunipola in particular making his mark in the tackle with a crunching hit on Guy Thompson.
Wasps were beginning to move through the gears, with Dai Young’s side building momentum. It came as sucker punch to them when it was Saracens who would cross for the first try of the game. Duncan Taylor raced forty metres to finish a superb solo score. Farrell converted.
Saracens compounded Wasps’ misery minutes later when they crossed a fortuitous second try of the game. Owen Farrell collected a Duncan Taylor offload to go under the posts to score.
Frank Halai ran in a late consolation for the home side, but it was Saracens who closed out the contest to chalk up their eleventh win of the season in all competitions.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton; 13 Duncan Taylor; 12 Brad Barritt; 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Owen Farrell; 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola; 2 Jamie George; 3 Petrus Du Plessis; 4 Maro Itoje; 5 George Kruis; 6 Michael Rhodes;7 Will Fraser; 8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders; 17 Richard Barrington; 18 Juan Figallo; 19 Jim Hamilton; 20 Kelly Brown; 21 Ben Spencer; 22 Charlie Hodgson; 23 Marcelo Bosch.
Tries Taylor (58); Farrell (62).
Cons Farrell x 2
Penalties Farrell x 4
Replacements used: Saunders for George (75); Barrington for M. Vunipola (69); Figallo for Du Plessis (50); Hamilton for Rhodes (50); Brown for Fraser (72); Spencer for Wigglesworth (72); Hodgson for Farrell (72); Bosch for Ashton (69).
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller; 14 Frank Halai; 13 Elliot Daly; 12 Alapati Leiua; 11 Charles Piutau; 10 Jimmy Gopperth; 9 Dan Robson; 1 Matt Mullan; 2 Ashley Johnson; 3 Lorenzo Cittadini; 4 Joe Launchbury;5 James Gaskell;6 James Haskell (C); 7 Thomas Young;8 Guy Thompson.
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington; 17 Simon McIntyre; 18 Phil Swainston; 19 Bradley Davies; 20 Sam Jones; 21 Joe Simpson; 22 Ruaridh Jackson; 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.
Replacements used: Shervington for Johnson (60); McIntyre for Mullan (63); Swainston for Cittadini (69); Davies for Gaskell (60); Jones for Thompson (60); Simpson for Robson (63); Tagicakibau for Miller (69).
Try Halai (77).
Penalties Gopperth x 2; Daly.