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Will Fraser on recovery trail as Saracens beat London Scottish

Will Fraser of Saracens. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images Will Fraser of Saracens. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Monday, August 18, 2014
10:34 AM

Will Fraser was delighted to have made his first appearance in nine months as Saracens kicked-off their home pre-season campaign with six tries against Championship neighbours London Scottish.

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The flanker played an hour of the friendly contest at Allianz Park on Friday night to put an important marker down on his return from his latest long-term injury which saw him break his foot and damage knee ligaments in a 24-19 win over Sale Sharks in December Premiership clash – just two months after returning from a rare torn tendon muscle in his shoulder that kept him out for five months.

Fraser told Saracens.com: “It was fantastic to be out there once again.

“The first half was very stop-start so the lungs weren’t burning too bad. It was just about getting used to the collisions again, the carrying, the tackling – it was tough. In the second half there was a lot more running, but it was just good to be out on the pitch again with the boys after what was a pretty frustrating campaign last season.

“From a purely personal point of view I want to play as much as I possibly can in these pre-season fixtures, because obviously I played so little last year.

“I want to go into this season with a decent amount of minutes under my belt so I feel ready to get back to the level of performance that is required to play in the Premiership.

“It was important that I got my foot and my ankle back right, and tonight was a great chance to see where I’m at.”

The match against London Scottish also saw summer signing Jim Hamilton make his debut in the black shirt, occupying with full-bloodied intensity the number four shirt of now retired captain Steve Borthwick.

Yet it was back row Jackson Wray and young marksman Jack Wilson that caught the eye.

The latter, a young winger from New Zealand who took his first team chances well last season, scored twice and bagged the try of the match, screeching from the halfway line past failing defenders to dot down.

That was courtesy of a fabulous offload from Wray. The No.8 scored Sarries’ third of the evening and showed countless examples of the bruising forward play that saw him finish last term so strongly. The Exiles simply had no answer to the Wray juggernaut once he set a course for the whitewash midway through the second half, dragging two defenders over the try line with him.

The friendly followed a summer tour to Chicago and a clash against Montpellier, and with Saracens’ international stars either away on duty for their countries or just starting their training programmes it was a chance for some of the club’s academy starlets to exhibit their talents.

Wide man Maro Itoje touched down at the death for a converted score that completed the 40-5 win, while second period scrum-half Henry Taylor looked a wriggling, probing threat around the fringes of the breakdown – claiming, in the closing stages, a nimble-footed score for his efforts.

Wilson opened the scoring four minutes in with a well-worked passing move into the corner flag. Charlie Hodgson booted the first of three conversions, while Nils Mordt kicked two after the break.

The Exiles frustrated the Heineken Cup runners-up and kept them at bay for 21 minutes before Ben Ransom darted over and Wray finished the opening period with his determined effort for a 21-0 scoreline at the halfway interval.

London Scottish wing Miles Mantella notched a fabulous early second half response after a one-two out wide, but fly-half Peter Lydon cracked the conversion off the upright and his side rarely came close to adding to their solitary score after that.

Wilson and Taylor added a fourth and fifth score respectively before Itoje stretched successfully for the base of the post in the final minute.

Saracens will next host Ospreys at the City of London’s Honorary Artillery Company on Thursday.

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