Mar 08, 2015
Saracens stun Wasps in comeback victory
Saracens stormed the Ricoh Arena to beat Wasps 26-17 in a superb comeback win in Coventry.
Trailing 17-3 with just 15 minutes played, Saracens scored 23 unanswered points in a phenomenal display of controlled, physical and tactically astute rugby. Half back Richard Wigglesworth and Alex Goode controlled proceedings expertly, with Wigglesworth collecting the Man of the Match award and Goode kicking 16 points.
The first half looked to be an attritional affair, with the conditions encouraging the ball to be kicked for the majority of the half.
Indeed both teams looked to kick for position, but surprisingly an entertaining half yielded 37 points, with four quality tries scored at a damp Ricoh Arena.
It was Wasps who scored the first points of the day as former Sarries outside half Andy Goode knocked over a routine penalty, after Maro Itoje was penalised for not rolling away.
Saracens stand-in fly-half Alex Goode replied with a penalty of his own in the seventh minute, after some strong carrying by the front five earned Mark McCall’s side a penalty. Goode made no mistake with the place kick.
Then the game’s first score, as Wasps winger Christian Wade crossed over in the 14th minute, after he managed to touch down his own grubber through. Andy Goode kicked added the extras with an impressive kick from the touchline.
Just moments later Elliot Daly sliced through the Saracens defence to score Wasps second try of the afternoon. Again, Goode converted to make the score 17-3 after just 15 minutes.
Saracens though are a team who don’t panic, and they showed their steel with a thundering rolling maul that saw Jackson Wray touch down for the visitors five minutes later. Alex Goode slotted a superb conversion to move Saracens to within 7 points of the hosts.
The game was finely poised after 30 minutes, with Saracens playing the conditions expertly with half-back duo Richard Wigglesworth and Alex Goode controlling things superbly on their return from England duty.
It was scrum half Wigglesworth who play a key role in Saracens second try. The 31-year old No9 grubbered in behind Christian Wade for wing Chris Wyles. The USA international was onto the ball in a flash, collecting and diving over despite the pressure of Wasps’ Wade. A flawless kicking display by Alex Goode continued, as the 26-year old slotted a great conversion from the touchline to give Saracens a well-deserved 20-17 lead at the break.
The second half started with Saracens win Chris Ashton seeing a yellow card for a high tackle on Rob Miller in the 42nd minute.
With a man down Saracens showed their great defensive qualities. Completely shutting out Wasps with some bone crunching tackling, with Maro Itoje in particular looking to take the fight to the Wasps in a defensive sense.
Sarries went on the attack with a numerical disadvantage, winning a penalty in the heart of the Wasps defence after several phases with the ball in hand. Alex Goode stepped up and knocked it over to put Saracens 6 points clear.
With Ashton back on and with the wind well and truly in their sails, Saracens took the game to Wasps and won another penalty, but Alex Goode was unlucky with the attempt, as it bounced right off the post.
In an incredibly physical and committed contest the bruising hits continued. With Brad Barritt now on the sidelines after twisting an ankle, Saracens other defensive leaders came to the fore in the closing twenty minutes.
As the contest continued to slip away from the home side, frustration got the better of them with substitute Guy Thompson sent to the sin bin after a conceding a penalty. Goode stepped up and kicked another three pointer as Saracens came away from ‘fortress Ricoh’ with a well-earned 26-17 win.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 James Downey, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson; 1 Matt Mullan (c) (rep Mc Intyre 69 min), 2 Tom Lindsay (Jackson 69), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini (Swainson 66), 4 Bradley Davies, 5 James Gaskell (Myall 60), 6 Ashley Johnson, 7 Thomas Young (Thompson 60), 8 Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16 Simon McIntyre, 17 Phil Swainston, 18 Kearnan Myall, 19 Ed Jackson, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Andrea Masi.
Tries Wade; Daly
Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Chris Ashton (Mordt 73), 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (Streather 58), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Goode, 9 Richard Wigglesworth (Spencer 79), 1 Mako Vunipola( Gill 63), 2 Jamie George ( Saunders 79), 3 Petrus Du Plessis (Figallo 58), 4 Jim Hamilton, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 6 Maro Itoje, 7 Jacques Burger (Hankin 79), 8 Jackson Wray (Joubert 73).
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Ernst Joubert, 20 Matt Hankin, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Tim Streather.
Tries Wray; Wyles.
Cons Goode x 2
Penalties Goode x 4