Oct 09, 2015
Sarries edged out in France
Saracens were narrowly beaten 10-9 by Aurillac in their final preseason hit-out before the start of the Aviva Premiership season.
The Premiership champions travelled to the French region Auvergne to face Aurillac at the Stade Jean Alric, with Mark McCall facing his former Ireland, Ulster and London Irish teammate Jeremy Davidson in the coaching box.
The game was a physical contest throughout, with Davidson’s Aurillac side conceding the first points of the evening when the home side were adjudged to have left their feet at the breakdown. Veteran fly-half Charlie Hodgson added the three points from the kicking tee to give Saracens a 3-0 lead.
Aurillac hit back. The French Division 2 leaders were awarded a penalty after concerted pressure on the Saracens line. Outside half Petitjean slotted the penalty goal to draw the match level after ten minutes of play.
Both sides looked to gain the upper hand at the set-piece and on the gain-line, with a series of bone crunching hits drawing gasps from the onlooking locals in attendance.
It was Saracens who would edge themselves in front, after Aurillac were penalised for having hands in the ruck. The metronomic Hodgson was again the points scorer landing the three points from 40+ metres out as the side’s went into their respective dressing rooms with the scoreboard reading 6-3 to Saracens.
Both side’s made changes at the break, with club captain Alistair Hargreaves one of the Saracens players to enter the fray at half-time. Despite the different personnel the game continued its physical theme, with no inch taken or given by either side.
Saracens would then be reduced to 13-men when replacement hooker Dave Porecki yellow carded. With starting hooker Jared Saunders having already been replaced for a slight knock earlier in the game, Sarries had to lose another player due to the game having to go to uncontested scrums.
With the numerical advantage, Aurillac would score the games only try, when right wing Valentin squeezed over in the right hand corner – Petitjean converted to extend his side’s lead to four points.
Saracens closed the gap to one point when back to their full compliment of 15 players, again Hodgson dissecting the uprights to make the score 10-9 to the hosts with ten minutes left to play.
That was enough for Aurillac, who held on to win the game. Saracens’ attention now moves to the Aviva Premiership opening weekend’s clash against Sale Sharks.
Saracens: 15 Matt Gallagher; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Mike Ellery; 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil De Kock; 1 Rhys Gill, 2 Jared Saunders
3 Petrus Du Plessis, 4 Jim Hamilton, 5 Maro Itoje ©, 6 Michael Rhodes, 7 Kelly Brown, 8 Jackson Wray.
16 Dave Porecki, 17 Ralph Adams-Hale, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Ed Gower, 21 Will Fraser, 22 Ernst Joubert, 23 Ben Spencer, 24 Baden Kerr, 25 Nils Mordt, 26 Nick Tompkins, 27 Nathan Earle.
Penalty: Hodgson x3