Nov 25, 2017
Sarries run Exeter close in tight defeat
On Sunday afternoon at Allianz Park Saracens were unlucky to be edged out at the death by fellow title contenders Exeter Chiefs with a tight scoreline of 18-20.
Max Malins made his first Premiership start as a capacity crowd were treated to a fantastic opening to the game as Alex Goode and Nathan Earle combined to produce a scintillating opener for the hosts. Schalk Brits scored a scrappier but equally effective second from a driving maul.
The West Country side came back from the break looking like a different team and after Sarries were denied by the TMO scored their first try through Ian Whitten. A second followed in the closing stages from a trademark driving maul from the Chiefs pack to secure victory.
On another day, luck might have swung the pendulum in Saracens’ favour but it was not to be as the away side held on for victory.
Exeter scored the first points of the match with a penalty from Gareth Steenson in the fifth minute but were pegged straight back with a brilliantly worked try from Goode.
Academy product Earle started the move on half-way, moving the ball out to Goode who brought the ball forward before exchanging passes once more with the winger to navigate his was way into the clear space he needed to head to the line and score a marvellous try.
Ben Spencer converted to make the score 7-3 before the Chiefs’ Nic White was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on in the 12th minute. The hosts capitalised a minute later with a big drive resulting in a try for Brits after the TMO deemed the ball to have been touched down, taking the score to 12-3.
Spencer extended the lead to 12 points in the 23rd minute with a calmly dispatched penalty before Chiefs’ fly-half Steenson slotted home a penalty from in front of the posts on the half-hour mark.
In the 36th minute, Earle produced a try-saving tackle after Olly Woodburn had looked destined to score. The winger’s initial tackle followed by some great work from teammates and was judged to have been enough to deny the visitors a first try by the TMO, making the half-time score 15-6.
Three minutes into the second-half Sarries came close to a third try in the corner but the TMO deemed the ball carrier to have been in an offside position.
The Chiefs scored their first try of the match in the 50th minute, Ian Whitten picked a fine line and touched down to the left of the posts leaving Steenson with a conversion to make the score 15-13.
However, the hosts would not be pegged back that easily and with a penalty awarded on half-way, Marcelo Bosch stepped up and produced massive kick to slot the ball between the uprights. The 51-metre kick extended the Men in Black’s lead to five points.
The Chiefs struck back in the 73rd minute after a spell of good pressure which was well countered by Sarries. Moray Low sniped in from close range to make the score 18-20 after Steenson’s converted.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode; 14 Nathan Earle (Ellery 71'); 13 Marcelo Bosch (Tompkins 77');12 Brad Barritt (c); 11 Chris Wyles. 10 Max Malins; 9 Ben Spencer (Wigglesworth 53'); 1 Richard Barrington (Thompson-Stringer 35'); 2 Schalk Brits (Tolofua 41'); 3 Vincent Koch (Figallo 56'); 4 Will Skelton (Flanagan 71'); 5 George Kruis; 6 Calum Clark; 7 Schalk Burger (Earl 77'); 8 Jackson Wray
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua; 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer; 18 Juan Figallo; 19 Mark Flanagan; 20 Ben Earl; 21 Richard Wigglesworth;22 Nick Tompkins; 23 Mike Ellery.
Tries: Goode (8'); Brits (14'):
Conversations: Spencer 1/2
Penalties: Spencer 1/1; Bosch 1/1:
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman; 14 Lachie Turner; 13 Ian Whitten; 12 Sam Hill; 11 Olly Woodburn; 10 Gareth Steenson; 9 Nic White (Chudley 61'); 1 Ben Moon (Hepburn 53'); 2 Jack Yeandle (c);(Malton 18'-25' & 73') 3 Greg Holmes (Low 67'); 4 Mitch Lees; 5 Jonny Hill (Skinner 61'); 6 Don Armand; 7 Matt Kvesic; 8 Thomas Waldrom
Replacements; 16 Shaun Malton; 17 Alec Hepburn; 18 Moray Low; 19 Toby Salmon; 20 Sam Skinner; 21 Will Chudley; 22 Joe Simmonds;23 James Short.
Tries: Whitten (51'); Low (73'):
Conversations: Steenson 2/2:
Penalties: Steenson 2/2:
Yellow card: White. (12')
Scoring sequence 0-3 Steenson pen; 5-3 Goode try; 7-3 Spencer con; 12-3 Brits try; 15-3 Spencer pen; 15-6 Steenson pen; 15-11 Whitten try; 15-13 Steenson con; 18-13 Bosch pen; 18-18 Low try; 18-20:Steenson con.