Nov 07, 2014
Spencer leads Saracens to win in Wales
Saracens beat Ospreys Rugby 9-21 at rain affected Gnoll this evening in round two of the LV=Cup.
Ben Spencer was the star of the show, as the silky Saracens half-back kicked all 21 points with seven penalties as a committed Sarries defensive display saw the north Londoners record their second win in the competition.
With Saracens having two fixtures this weekend, Joe Shaw used the round two LV=Cup fixture as an opportunity to blood some of Saracens’ Academy players against the Ospreys who were heading back to their spiritual home of The Gnoll for the first time in nine years.
The famous old ground has seen some of Welsh Rugby’s most illustrious alumni ply their trade on here, with names such as cross-code duo Allan Bateman & Jonathan Davies, Huw Richards, Paul Thorburn, Barry Williams and the mercurial Shane Williams gracing the turf here in the south Welsh region.
As both sides stood for an impeccable two minutes silence prior to the game, the heavens opened. Skipper Maro Itoje must have wondered if was to defend the shallow end first-half as was the deluge of rain that descended upon the Gnoll.
With the ball slippery and handling conditions neigh-on impossible for running rugby, it came as no surprise that both team’s half-backs decided to kick for territory. Saracens enjoyed the majority of territory and possession, and it was quickly turned into points with half-back Ben Spencer sending over two well taken penalties in the first ten minutes to give Saracens a 0-6 lead.
Ospreys quickly responded with a penalty of their own, as former Wales U20 fly-half Sam Davies kicked his side’s first points of a damp evening.
Then Saracens winger George Perkins was sent to the sin bin for a slight challenge in the air on his opposite number Dafydd Howells. With the man advantage the Ospreys won another penalty with Saracens straying offside at the breakdown. Davies slotted the penalty to level up the scores.
The rain continued to pour and in truth the quality of the contest in the first 40 minutes suffered as a consequence. But Saracens continued to keep the score board ticking over as Spencer knocked over two more penalties to give Saracens a 6-12 lead at the break.
The second-half started with Ospreys loosehead Gareth Thomas being sent to the sin bin for an ugly looking tip tackle on Matt Hankin. Spencer lined up a kick at goal, but dragged his attempt wide, proving he is human after all.
The home side responded well and Sam Davies sent over a penalty after 55 minutes to peg back Saracens lead.
Spencer though was in the groove as he kicked two more penalties to give Saracens a 9-18 lead.
The Ospreys looked to chase the game, and even in poor conditions looked to move the ball. Sarries though were up for the fight, and some superbly brave and committed defending continued to frustrate the home faithful of 4,270 packed into the old ground.
As the game wore on Saracens won another set-piece penalty, with the front-row of Jack Culverhouse, Brett Sharman and Biyi Alo a menace for the Ospreys forwards throughout. Spencer stepped up and slotted his seventh kick of the game as the final whistle ringed around The Gnoll.