Sep 03, 2016
Saracens Off To Winning Start To The New Season at Twickenham
Saracens began their Aviva Premiership title defence with a bonus point 35-3 win over Worcester Warriors at the London Double Header at Twickenham.
Four second half tries from Jamie George, Alex Lozowski, Schalk Burger and a stunning individual effort from replacement scrumhalf Ben Spencer were enough for the Allianz Park side as they swept aside a stubborn Warriors outfit.
It was a day of milestones for Saracens on the double winners' opening fixture of the season as Mark McCall handed debuts to summer recruits Sean Maitland, Alex Lozowski and former South African skipper Schalk Burger.
There were also some notable personal landmarks on the day, hooker Jamie George clocking up his 150th game and free scoring wing Chris Ashton celebrating his 100th appearance for the club that, heading into the game, he had scored 61 tries for since his debut at Twickenham Stadium in the 2012 London Double Header against London Irish.
After a tentative opening to the game, Alex Lozoswki sent over the first points of the afternoon after Brad Barritt’s miserly defence won a penalty deep in the Worcester 22.
The contest was low on action in the first half, yet Sarries dominated the possession and territory stats in the first half. The Warriors may have had a tumultuous summer losing their Director of Rugby Dean yan, but Carl Hogg had his troops well organised and the Warriors were hard to break down in a frustrating opening 20 minutes to the season for Mark McCall’s side.
Warriors No10 Ryan Lamb levelled the scores up after 25 minutes, when Saracens were penalised for a side entry at a Worcester lineout.
Sarries were starting to gather momentum, with the Vunipola brothers particular lively as the north London giants started to awaken from their slumber. Worcester though were resolute, restricting their opponents to only one clear cut try scoring opportunity in the first half yet George Kruis' outstretched arm couldn’t ground the ball sufficiently enough to receive the green light from match TMO Graham Hughes.
Sarries though deserved the lead at the break, and after debutant Lozowski dragged two penalty attempts wide, the former Wasps man stepped up confidently on the 40th minute mark to send over three points from the northern touchline to give Sarries a 6-3 lead at the break.
Mark McCall is not known for tearing a strip of paint off the walls in half-time team talks, and after the Saracens director of rugby reminded his charges of their respective responsibilities and he must have been pleased with his side’s response.
After an early Lozowski penalty kick Sarries moved through the gears and Jamie George dotted down on the back of powerful driving maul six minutes into the second half.
Sarries were quickly finding groove and it would be fly-half Alex Lozowski who was over next, the summer signing collecting a cute offload from fellow new recruit Schalk Burger to waltz over under the posts.
Burger’s arrival from Stormers this summer has received the most column inches of many of the league's new recruits, and he linked up with his former Newlands partner Schalk Brits to score his first try for the club, and in the process, Sarries third of the afternoon.
Sarries were rarely threatened by the Warriors and late on into the game, replacement scrumhalf Ben Spencer clinched the try scoring bonus point with a fine individual effort minutes from the end to secure a 35-3 victory for the current champions.
15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton; 13 Marcelo Bosch ; 12 Brad Barritt (C); 11 Sean Maitland: 10 Alex Lozowski; 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola; 2 Jamie George; 3 Petrus Du Plessis; 4 Maro Itoje; 5 George Kruis; 6 Jackson Wray; 7 Schalk Burger; 8 Billy Vunipola:
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits; 17 Richard Barrington; 18 Juan Figallo; 19 Jim Hamilton; 20 Michael Rhodes; 21 Ben Spencer; 22 Duncan Taylor; 23 Mike Ellery:
Tries George(45); Lozowski(51); Burger(57); Spencer(78)
Cons Lozowski 3/4
Penalties Lozowski 3/5
Replacements used Brits for George(51); Barrington for M.Vunipola (59); Figallo for Du Plessis(41); Hamilton for Kruis (64); Rhodes for Wray(51); Spencer for Wigglesworth(57); Taylor for Bosch (59);
Ellery for Barritt (69).
15 Jackson Willison; 14 Dean Hammond; 13 Wynand Olivier; 12Ben Te’o; 11 Cooper Vuna; 10 Ryan Lamb; 9 Jonny Arr; 1 Val Rapava Ruskin; 2 Niall Annett; 3 Nick Schonert;
4 Tevita Cavubati; 5 Darren Barry; 6 Phil Dowson; 7 Marco Mama; 8 GJ van Velze (C):
Replacements:16 Jaba Bregvadze;17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga; 18James Johnston; 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson; 20 Alafoti Faosiliva;21 Luke Baldwin;22 Tom Heathcote;
23 Perry Humphreys
Penalty Lamb (27)
Replacements used Bregvadze for Annett(51); Leieimalefaga for Ruskin (51); Johnston for Schonert(25); Scotland-Williamson for Cavubati(51); Faosiliva for Dowson(51); Baldwin foe Arr (63); Heathcote for Lamb(59); Humphreys for Cooper-Vuna(67):
Yellow card Johnston (56):