Saracens maul Gloucester to maintain perfect start
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Gallagher Premiership: Saracens 38 Gloucester 15
Saracens maintained their perfect start to the new Gallagher Premiership season with a 38-15 victory at home to Gloucester.
The north Londoners were in complete control in the first half and a brace of tries from Maro Itoje saw them hold a comfortable lead at the break.
Sarries continued to dominate proceedings in the second period to ultimately triumph, but will have been disappointed to conceded two late tries.
Director of rugby Mark McCall made five changes for the visit from the West Country outfit, with Sean Maitland, Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth, George Kruis and Ben Earl recalled to the starting XV.
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The Allianz Park outfit took the lead in the fourth minute when Farrell kicked a penalty from 22 metres out after Gloucester’s Jake Polledri failed to release the ball in the tackle.
Two minutes later, Saracens had their first try of the afternoon when Maitland set David Strettle away to cross in the corner, with Farrell converting to make it 10-0.
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The second try for the north Londoners came in farcical fashion in the 27th minute, with Itoje eventually dotting down.
A high kick from Farrell into the 22 went uncollected, with the ball bouncing up off the ground and then off the underside of the crossbar.
Itoje was on hand to react quickest, collecting the ball close to the line before making his way over it, with Farrell adding the extras.
The England lock was at fault nine minutes later when going in off his feet at the ruck, allowing Billy Twelvetrees to kick a penalty to give the visitors their first points of the afternoon with the score 17-3.
Itoje soon atoned, though, by barging over with his second try of the match after collecting from the back of a ruck on the line.
Farrell successfully added the extras to hand McCall’s men a 24-3 advantage at half-time.
Sarries wrapped up the bonus point nine minutes into the second half when Maitland ran in from the 22-metre line after a good period of pressure from the hosts.
With 11 minutes remaining, the Allianz Park added a fifth try when Liam Williams broke down the right wing, before passing back inside for replacement Alex Lozowski to cross for a converted try with the score 38-3.
Gloucester dotted down twice late on, with Mark Atkinson and Charlie Sharples both crossing, while Twelvetrees added one conversion.
However, they proved to be little more than consolations scores as Saracens ran pout comfortable victors.
The north Londoners will look for a fifth straight league win next Saturday when they entertain Bath.
Saracens: Williams; Strettle (Goode 48), Tompkins (Lozowski 52), Barritt (Tompkins 71), Maitland; Farrell, Wigglesworth (Spencer 61); Vunipola (Barrington 57), George (Tolofua 57), Koch (Lamositele 57); Kruis, Skelton (Isiekwe 48); Itoje, Rhodes, Earl (Burger 59).
Gloucester: Woodward (Hudson 67); Sharples, Trinder (Atkinson 63), Twelvetrees, Banahan; Cipriani, Braley (Vellacott 55); Hohneck (Seville 63), Marais (Hanson 55), Balmain (Knight 63); Slater, Grobler; Polledri, Ludlow (Clarke 38), Ackermann (Morgan 38).
Referee: Chris Ridley.