Aug 27, 2015
Saracens beaten at the HAC
Saracens were beaten 33-16 by Welsh side Ospreys in the MXC Capital Challenge at the Honourable Artillery Company on Thursday evening.
With some of the club’s eight England squad members in attendance to watch their club mates first hit-out of preseason it was Ospreys who came away from Mooregate with the spoils.
Playing an Ospreys side just a week away from the Pro12 season kick-off was always going to test Mark McCall’s side, and it was the Welsh region who flew out of the blocks playing some enterprising rugby in the opening exchanges.
Steve Tandy’s Swansea based side ran in two quick-fire tries with wing Daf Howells crossing for two scores in the left hand corner to give the visitors a deserved 12-0 lead.
Saracens registered their first points of the contest with a Ben Spencer penalty before the Ospreys extended their lead to 3-19.
As they continued to find their feet in the half, Saracens were the next to score when Jackson Wray dotted down the ball on the back of a strong Sarries catch-and-drive – Spencer converted to cut Ospreys lead to nine.
Before the break, the dead-eyed Spencer added another three points with a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time as the side’s went for their respective words of wisdom from their coaching staff with the scores Saracens 13 Ospreys 19.
Sarries started strongly in the second half. Pack men Maro Itoje, Jackson Wray and new signing Michael Rhodes all looked to punch holes in the Ospreys defensive line.
After repeated pressure and penalties on the Ospreys line, Ben Spencer pointed to the posts and duly added another penalty goal to pin the Ospreys lead to three.
The Welsh side, fresh from a preseason hit out with the Wales Rugby World Cup squad though responded well to Sarries second half rally and put the game to bed with two late tries through replacements Tom Grabham and Mathew Dwyer.
Final Score: Saracens 16 Ospreys 33
Tries: Jackson Wray
Conversions: Ben Spencer (x1)
Penalty Goal: Ben Spencer (x3)
Saracens: 15. Matt Gallagher; 14. Mike Ellery, 13. Tim Streather, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Nathan Earle; 10. Nils Mordt, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jared Saunders, 3. Petrus Du Plessis, 4. Maro Itoje (c), 5. Michael Rhodes, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Kelly Brown, 8. Ernst Joubert.
Subs: Dave Porecki, Ralph Adams-Hale, Billy Walker, Kennett O'Neill, Dean McLennan, Matt Hankin, Brian Tuilagi, Tom Whiteley, Max Malins, Dominic Morris, George Perkins, Anthony Maka.