December 5 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe at Allianz Park
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Premiership: Saracens 19 London Wasps 12
It was short on flair and, for the first time this term, Saracens were outscored on the try-sheet but those are just the small details, because the outcome was the same as the Allianz Park outfit made it a perfect five victories from five to cement their place at the summit of the Aviva Premiership.
In a first half to forget, Alex Goode’s penalty provided the only division between the two London sides.
The contest limped into an equally scruffy second period which was gratefully punctuated by an opening score from home forward Will Fraser to mark his return from five months out with a shoulder injury.
Chris Bell replied for Wasps before adding a second at the death and had half time replacement fly-half Andy Goode plugged more of his opportunities from the kicking tee - which at one point would have put the visitors just 10-7 behind - it may have been a rather more nervous finale.
But considering there were 11 changes to the Hendon side which beat Harlequins last week – with the likes of Billy Vunipola and captain Steve Borthwick rested – it was a comfortable dénouement to the first batch of league games before they turn their attention to Connacht in their opening game of what appears ever more likely to be the beginning of the end for the Heineken Cup.
There was a delayed start to the match with a touch judge sprinting tardily into position and it really set the tone for the first 40 minutes, though there was an early burst from Chris Ashton that drew the penalty for Alex Goode to boot the only points of the period.
Sarries did the lion’s share of attacking but Elliot Daly and Josh Bassett swept up two penetrative grubber kicks.
Wasps were reduced to 14 men on the half hour mark as Kearnan Myall checked Fraser, leaving the returning openside prone on the ground. Alex Goode missed the resulting goal attempt and the hosts came no closer to increasing their lead before the Wasps second row returned from his 10 minutes on the bench.
A half time change was needed and it saw Owen Farrell replace Ben Ransom so Alex Good could return to his favoured full-back role.
The new introduction was wayward with an early shot at the posts but soon after Fraser provided the breakthrough.
Alex Goode delayed his offload until the last second to feed in the flanker but he still had some work to do to breach the whitewash. It quickly proved no contest when he skipped past Christian Wade and flopped over with the winger unable to halt his progress. Farrell added the extras and there looked no way back for Wasps, who had barely glimpsed the home side’s try-line.
That changed when Sarries allowed Wade to fire up the afterburners as the diminutive flyer evaded three black and red shirts before Richard Wigglesworth slowed him down. It was enough though as he offloaded to Bell who screamed over to score.
Hopes of a fightback appeared to fade when Andy Goode failed with the conversion and again soon after with a penalty.
That was after Farrell had found his range, while two quick-fire shots at the sticks to follow saw Saracens were virtually home and hosed.
Ashton, who had earlier avoided a yellow card on a TMO referral for a charge on Bassett, was not so lucky with three minutes remaining when he was judged to have intentionally knocked on, leaving the hosts to see out the contest a man light.
It was just enough time for Wasps’ Goode to atone for his misses with a long range pass that fell into the arms of Bell, though it could have been any one of three players on an overlap out wide.
The Wasps fly-half slotted the extras to at least earn a losing bonus point, but it was another efficient four for Saracens to maintain their unblemished domestic record and sends them into round one of what could be the Heineken Cup ‘slast hurrah.
Saracens: 1.Rhys Gill, 2. Jamie George, 3. James Johnston, 4. Alastair Hargreaves, 5. George Kruis, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Will Fraser, 8. Ernst Joubert (c); 9. Neil de Kock, 10. Alex Goode; 11. Michael Tagicakibau, 12. Chris Wyles, 13. Joel Tomkins, 14. Chris Ashton; 15. Ben Ransom
Replacements (All used): 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Petrus Du Plessis, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Kelly Brown, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Owen Farrell, 23. Jack Wilson.
London Wasps: 1 Matt Mullan (17 Simon McIntyre), 2 Carlo Festuccia (16 Tom Lindsay), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley (18 Will Taylor), 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Kearnan Myall (19 James Cannon), 6 Ed Jackson, 7 Ashley Johnson (20 Guy Thompson), 8 Nathan Hughes; 9 Charlie Davies, 10 Joe Carlisle, 11 Josh Bassett, 12 Charlie Hayter, 13 Chris Bell (c), 14 Christian Wade, 15 Elliot Daly (22 Andy Goode)
Unused replacements: 21 Jack Moates, 23 Ben Jacobs