Saracens seal LV= Cup semi-final with bonus point win over Newcastle
17:15 26 January 2014
LV= Cup Pool 1: LV= Cup: Saracens 41 Newcastle 8
Saracens booked their passage through to the LV= Cup semi-finals as Pool 1 winners with a game to spare after a bonus point victory over Newcastle Falcons.
Following the titanic tussle 24 hours earlier against Currie Cup against Sharks, the first half had more than a feel of after the Lord Mayor’s Show but, the second string side cut loose after the break to crash in four scores.
For the Londoners this competition - much derided as it is - continues to provide an invaluable platform for the talent coming through their academy with debutant flanker Nick De Jager picking up the man-of-the-match award plus England under-20 flanker Matt Hankin and centre Nick Tompkins impressing.
The match also saw the second Saracens bow for lock forward Hayden Smith since he re-signed after an 18-month stint as an American football player with New York Jets.
The Australian was strong in the lineout, while prop James Johnstone and No.8 Jackson Wray added the experience in the scrum that helped the Hendon side gain the upper hand after half time.
The back row scored two second half tries after a slow, penalty-laden first half in which Falcons wing Tom Catterick claimed the only score. But the visitors still trailed 15-8 at the break thanks to a perfect five out of five penalties from Saracens’ Ben Spencer compared to 10 points passed up by opposing fly-half Joel Hodgson.
But in the second session Sarries showed, without ever threatening the flowing rugby that their strongest XV have shown this season in the Premiership, that they had more than enough firepower to despatch the Falcons.
Ben Ransom added the third and most eye-catching score which owed everything to the space-spotting burst of centre Tim Streather, while Tom Jubb secured the bonus point, barrelling over for a try on his birthday right at the death.
Spencer converted to take his tally 21 points and an almost faultless kicking display, bar one missed conversion.
It sets up a final group game against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens for the right to claim a home semi-final.
Saracens: Ransom, Wilson, Streather, Tompkins, Earle, Mordt (c), Spencer, Gill, Saunders (Spurling), Johnstone, Smith (Itoje), Sheriff, De Jager (Jubb), Hankin, Wray
Replacements:, Auterac, Alo, Taylor, Stanley, Kingsman
Referee: Greg MacDonald