Aviva Premiership: Saracens 38 Wasps 19
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
England hooker Jamie George plundered a hat-trick of tries as Saracens climbed to the summit of the Aviva Premiership with victory over Wasps at Allianz Park.
Owen Farrell was forced to withdraw from the bench shortly before kick-off due to a calf injury but the composure shown by Alex Lozowski meant the European champions were in good hands and his fly-half understudy finished with 18 points.
Saracens had galloped out of sight with half an hour remaining, with George’s trio of tries including one that saw him bullock over after Chris Wyles’ opener to deliver the bonus point and a record win in the fixture.
The climb above overnight Premiership leaders Exeter was as much a story of Wasps’ shortcomings as the excellence of Mark McCall’s men.
Even allowing for injuries that robbed them of Danny Cipriani and Jimmy Gopperth at fly-half – forcing full-back Rob Miller to deputise as conductor – and number eight Nathan Hughes, it was a poor performance by the visitors.
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Apart from Thomas Young, who provided manful resistance, few of last season’s Premiership runners-up acquited themselves well as the club slumped to a fourth successive defeat for the first time since 2014 to remain a lowly 10th in the table.
Wyles was instrumental in Saracens’ surge to a 12-0 lead after just 11 minutes, gathering Alex Goode’s chip to touch down after Lozowski had started the move by weaving a path downfield.
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The American wing’s awareness then set up the second for George as he took a quick tap penalty in the knowledge that Wasps had switched off before finding the onrushing England hooker with the scoring pass.
Young produced a key turnover as Saracens attacked through Marcelo Bosch and George Kruis in search of their third, which almost came moments later only for Mako Vunipola to be tackled five metres short of the line.
It looked bleak for Wasps as they ran the ball from deep on successive occasions, but wing Josh Bassett found some space and kicked downfield to force an attacking line-out that ended when Marty Moore was driven over.
Penalties either side of half-time by Lozowski swept Saracens 21-7 ahead and when a break from Liam Williams prompted referee Ian Tempest to blow his whistle once more, the England prospect was on target again.
The European champions went for the jugular when offered another shot at goal and their endeavour paid off when George finished a line-out drive that splintered Wasps.
The score that secured the bonus point was a carbon copy and once more it was George who touched down beneath grey skies at Allianz Park.
Wasps openside Jack Willis marked his Premiership debut by picking a good line to touch down in the 69th minute and Bassett had the final say for the visitors when he crossed in injury time.