Sep 11, 2016
Slick Sarries storm Sandy Park in five-try win
Saracens produced an Aviva Premiership masterclass as they ran-in five tries to beat Exeter Chiefs 34-13 at Sandy Park.
In a clinical performance, Saracens squeezed and suffocated the Chiefs with some fine defence and when in attack, they produced some scintillating rugby with Alex Lozowski and Sean Maitland both impressing on the day.
Fly-half Lozowski opened the scoring, whilst wing Maitland crossed for a brace of tries, his first for Saracens since his summer move to the double winners. Other scorers on the day were Man of the Match Jackson Wray and replacement halfback Ben Spencer.
In the build-up to the game Saracens were forced into changing their named starting XV, with George Kruis withdrawing from the re-run of the 2016 Aviva Premiership Final due to a back spasm. In his place was the wily old battler Jim Hamilton, with the former Scotland enforcer making his 50th appearance for the Club.
Playing into a stiff breeze Saracens managed the conditions expertly well in the opening half with summer signings Alex Lozowski and Sean Maitland both crossing for tries.
Fly-half Lozowski, who impressed on his debut last weekend at the London Double Header with a 20-point personal haul against Worcester, looks an inspired piece of business for the Men in Black. In the absence of England international Owen Farrell, Lozowski has slotted into his new surroundings impressively and his first half score had all the hallmarks of his bourgeoning talent.
Collecting the ball from Richard Wigglesworth, the former Wasps outside half costed past three would-be Chiefs defenders to score after six minutes of play.
With halfback Richard Wigglesworth kicking expertly and the likes of Chris Ashton and back rowers Jackson Wray and Schalk Burger chasing down the Saracens scrumhalf’s towering punts with fervour, Saracens were able to manage the first quarter of the game impressively well.
Sean Maitland was next to score for the visitors, after Jamie George went agonisingly close to scoring himself from a Saracens catch and drive. Maitland, collecting the ball after some quick hands from outside centre Marcelo Bosch to squeeze over in the left hand corner.
With the howling breeze behind their backs, the Chiefs could ill-afford surrendering such an advantage, but some trademark steadfast Saracens defence continued to frustrate the home-side.
Henry Slade did reduce arrears with two first half penalties, one being sent over after Saracens were reduced to 14-men after Richard Wigglesworth’s trip was picked up by Referee JP Doyle on the Sandy Park big screen, and despite his TMO’s advice he yellow carded the Sarries halfback for what looked to be, an innocuous coming together.
Saracens started the second half strongly with Billy Vunipola particularly prominent with a series of carries but the visitors were unable to captialise on their dominance, with a kick through by Brad Barritt dealt with expertly by Exeter.
Sarries thought they had extended their lead on 48 minutes but England prop Mako Vunipola was bundled into touch as he dived over in the corner.
The champions stretched their lead on 53 minutes as Goode launched a long range penalty to make the score 15-6, while it could have been worse had the England full-back not missed another shot at goal just minutes later.
Saracens scored their try of the game on 58 minutes as Maitland went over in the corner.
A series of powerful drives by the Sarries forward pack, followed by quick hands and a clever off load by Lozowski created the opening for Maitland, with Goode adding the extras off the tee.
And Saracens added their fourth try of the afternoon just minutes later as Vunipola powered off the base of the scrum, steamrollered two Exeter defenders but offloading to Wray to score in the corner – Goode missed with the conversion.
Exeter got their first try of the afternoon on 69 minutes as Luke Cowan-Dickie bundled his way over for a score after a series of short drives, with replacement Gareth Steenson adding the extras for the Chiefs.
And Saracens added the gloss to their performance with a fifth score as a wayward pass found its way to Ben Spencer in added time, with Goode adding the extras for a 34-13 win.
15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (capt), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Jim Hamilton, 6 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Kelly Brown, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nick Tomkins, 23 Mike Ellery.
Scores Tries Lozowski (4); Maitland (18 & 58); Wray (62); Spencer (80+2):
Cons: Goode 3/5:
Penalties: Goode 1/2:
Replacements used: Brits for George (51); Barrington for M.Vunipola (67); Figallo for Du Plessis (41); Brown for Burger (67); Rhodes for Hamilton (54); Spencer for Wigglesworth (63); Tompkins for Bosch (77); Ellery for Lozowski (67):
Yellow card Wigglesworth (32):
15 Phil Dollman, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 1 Ben Moon, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Greg Holmes, 4 Geoff Parling (capt), 5 Damian Welch, 6 Don Armand, 7 Julian Salvi,8 Thomas Waldrom.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn,18 Harry Williams, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Dave Lewis,
22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Max Bodilly.
Scores Try Cowan-Dickie (69):
Penalties Slade x 2
Replacements used: Yeandle for Cowan-Dickie 69); Hepburn for Moon (52); Williams for Holmes (50); Lees for Welch (50); Dennis for Salvi (56); Lewis for Chudley (61); Steenson for Hill (61); Bodilly for Dolman (16):
Scoring sequence 7-0;12-0;12-3;12-6;15-6;22-6;27-6;27-13;34-13:
Man of the Match: Jackson Wray