Nov 09, 2014
Saracens Wingmen star in six try win
Saracens ran in six tries against DHL Western Province, as they beat the South African Currie Cup champions 46-22 to lift the Sanlam Challenge Shield at a sun-kissed Allianz Park.
Winger David Strettle scored a brace of tries in a Man of the Match performance, with wing partner Chris Ashton also crossing for a pair of scores. Other try scorers on the day were Mouritz Botha, and flanker Will Fraser as Charlie Hodgson added three penalties from the kicking tee.
From the kick-off the game immediately burst into action, as Province outside half Catrakilis sending over a penalty kick to register the game’s first points after two minutes, when Saracens were adjudged to have strayed offside at the breakdown.
Saracens though returned fire, and after a scorching Ben Ransom break provided the home side with the territory in the WP 22, it was try-poacher Chris Ashton who would open the scoring for the north London club on the 18th minute mark.
With Saracens in great field position and evergreen half-back Neil de Kock pulling the strings against his former side, the South African No.9 picked up and dummied from the base of the ruck. Speeding away from the desperate Province cover, De Kock found Chris Ashton appearing on his shoulder as the Wigan born try scorer waltzed in for his first of the game. Hodgson converted to give Sarries a 7-3 lead.
Then it was Strettle’s turn to show his finishing prowess. After a loose Nic Groom clearance found Charlie Hodgson in the back field, the ball made its way over to Strettle who turned on the after burners. After breaking the first line of the Cape side’s defence, Strettle then rounded full-back Dillyn Leyds to finish expertly in the corner.
Western province hit back when impressive outside half Catrakilis jinked his way over to make the scores 12-8. Saracens though were in the groove, and it came as no surprise to the healthy crowd packed into Allianz Park when the home side crossed for their third – Ashton yet again sniffing out a chance collecting an inside ball to power his way past three would-be WP defenders to score left of the posts. Hodgson added the simple conversion.
Before half-time, lock duo Alistair Hargreaves and Mouritz Botha combined to score Sarries fourth of the afternoon, when the Saracens skipper’s expert offload found Botha who scorched down the right wing to score in the corner. Hodgson added a superb conversion as the sides went into the break 26-8.
After the break it was that man again Catrakilis who would cross for the visitors, after combining with Springbok hopeful Juan De Jongh to finish off a superb free flowing move.
Charlie Hodgson then kicked two penalties as the game began to come disjointed as both sides rotated their benches before Man of the Match Strettle pounced for his second of the afternoon.
Minutes after the superb Neil de Kock was left the field to a standing ovation, replacement Ben Spencer (backing up from a superb performance in Saracens’ 9-21 win on Friday against the Ospreys) spotted acres of space in the Province back field cover. The half-back kicked on and Strettle raced onto the bouncing ball to finish, again Hodgson converted.
As the game wore on both sides traded scores with replacement WP hooker Bongi Mbonambi powering his way over to score minutes before Will Fraser walked in a try with minutes left on the clock.
Final Score: Saracens 46 DHL Western Province 22.