Jan 03, 2015
Saracens 22 London Irish 6
Prolific wing David Strettle crossed for a brace of tries as Saracens beat London Irish 22-6 at Allianz Park in round 12 of the Aviva Premiership.
In front of 9,306 fans in a wet and windy north London, it was returning wing Strettle who inflicted the damage with two expertly finished tries either side of half-time. Owen Farrell kicked 12 points for Saracens, with Tom Homer kicking two penalties for the visitors.
Strettle showed the finishing qualities that the Allianz Park faithful have grown accustomed to during the last two years, with the Warrington born wing expertly wriggling over for two tries. If Strettle’s finishing was impressive then the same could be said of some notable individual performances of forwards Jamie George, George Kruis, Jackson Wray and Billy Vunipola, with the latter winning a deserved Man of the Match award with a series of bruising carries and clever handling at the base of a strong Saracens scrum.
The game began with Saracens playing into the elements. London Irish sensibly, looked to play the conditions, with Shane Geraghty continuously peppering Saracens full-back Ben Ransom with high kicks.
The Exiles enjoyed parity in the possession and territory stakes for the majority of the first half, but it was Saracens who would establish a 6-0 lead, as Owen Farrell sent over two penalties before Strettle crossed for his first score.
After a strong Saracens driving maul, Neil de Kock found the rampaging Mako Vunipola, who carrying two Exiles defenders offloaded to Owen Farrell. The Saracens outside half quickly transferred the ball to Nick Tompkins who then fed Strettle on the right wing. With the Exiles defenders looking to bundle him into touch Strettle showed good footwork to evade the would-be tacklers to score. Farrell couldn’t add the extras as Saracens went into the changing rooms 11-0 to the good.
The second half started with Tom Homer knocking over two well struck penalties, as Saracens were penalised at the breakdown on both occasions. With the conditions deteriorating, Saracens decided that points were at a premium, as Owen Farrell knocked over two penalties to re-establish the home side’s 11 point lead.
With dominance in both possession and territory it came as no surprise when Strettle crossed for his second. It was some finish though, with the 31-year old hotstepping his way past a throng of covering Exiles players to power over to score. Farrell hit the post with the conversion.
Final Score: Saracens 22 London Irish 6