Saracens down Wasps to move top of table
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Gallagher Premiership: Saracens 29 Wasps 6
Alex Lozowski provided 17 points from the tee as Saracens moved to the top of the Gallagher Premiership with a 29-6 victory at home to Wasps.
The teams started the day in second and third in the table, but the first half failed to take off with three Lozowski penalties having the home team in front at the break.
Tries, though, from England internationals Jamie George and Nick Isiekwe in the second half saw the north Londoners eventually ease to their success.
With Saracens welcoming back several of their international stars from the Autumn Internationals, the home team made eight changes to their starting XV.
George, Maro Itoje and Sean Maitland were among those players to earn a recall to the starting line-up.
Though Owen Farrell was available after returning from England duty, Alex Goode moved to fly-half with Matt Gallagher at fullback, coming in as a late replacement for Liam Williams who missed out through injury.
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After starting on the wing in the win at Leicester Tigers last weekend, Lozowski reverted to a more familiar role at outside centre to face his former club.
Among the replacements, director of rugby Mark McCall opted to name six forwards and just two backs for the home team.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Saracens took the lead through a Lozowski penalty inside the opposition 22 after good work by the pack.
Four minutes later, though, the teams were level again when Elliot Daly’s canon of a left boot knocked over a penalty from 54 metres.
A good break from Maro Itoje led to another penalty for the Allianz Park outfit in the 29th minute, which Lozowski took full advantage off to put the home team back in front.
The England international then added another penalty kick in the 37th minute to hand Sarries a 9-3 lead at the sides went into the break.
The north Londoners began the second half brightly and thought they had the game’s first try through George in the 46th minute, only for the Television Match Official to rule the hooker had been held up over the line.
Wasps made the most of their let off, with Daly slotting over another long-range penalty for Dai Young’s men three minutes later.
McCall’s men, though, were enjoying good control of the set-piece in the second half, with a scrum in the 57th minute yielding another three-point chance which Lozowski availed of to make it 12-6.
The home team then dotted down the first try of the match in the 60th minute when George crossed in the corner after a good period of possession near the line, with Lozowski adding the extras.
Lozowski was then handed the tee again with 12 minutes remaining, kicking off from close to the 10-metre line after Wasps was penalised for being offside.
Sarries were gifted a second try when, after a clearance kick from replacement Ben Spencer, Daly attempted a pass to Willie Le Roux close to his own line, which replacement Isiekwe intercepted.
The lock was handed the easiest try of his career as he ran in from a grand total of four metres, with Lozowski converting.
Wasps pressed for a consolation try in the closing moments, but could not find a way through a resolute Saracens defence.
The win should warm McCall’s men up nicely for next Sunday’s match at home to Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Saracens: Gallagher (Tompkins 68); Maitland, Lozowski, Barritt, Lewington; Goode, Wigglesworth (Spencer 70); Lamositele (Adams-Hale 55), George (Woolstencroft 70), Koch (Figallo 55); Itoje (Day 70), Skelton (Isiekwe 55); Rhodes, Clark (Earl 62), Wray.
Wasps: Le Roux; Neal, Daly, Le Bourgeois (De Jongh 73), Campagnaro; Sopoaga (Searle 61), Hampson (Porter 68); B Harris (Zhvania 61), A Harris (Oghre 61), Brookes (Daniels 61); Rowlands, Myall; Shields (Morris 63), Carr, Hughes (Matthews 68).
Referee: JP Doyle.