Premiership: Wasps 14 Saracens 31
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Saracens took a giant stride towards a home play-off semi-final in the Gallagher Premiership with a second dominant victory at the Ricoh Arena inside a week.
Fresh from securing a place in the Heineken Champions Cup final with a 32-16 victory over Munster, Saracens returned to Coventry and breezed to a 31-14 win over error-strewn Wasps.
Defeat dispelled Dai Young’s side’s slim hopes of a late surge into the play-off places as they failed to maintain momentum gained from bonus-point victories over Worcester and Exeter.
Despite losing both Mako Vunipola and Michael Rhodes before a ball was kicked, the champions were irresistible in the first half, scoring three tries and seeing Owen Farrell convert three penalties to open a 28-7 lead.
Wasps’ encouraging start was undone in the sixth minute when Joe Simpson’s pass was telegraphed by his opposite number, Ben Spencer, who raced home for a 50-metre interception try. Farrell converted and added a 15th-minute penalty.
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More was to follow for Saracens as Liam Williams benefited from Alex Goode’s break, burning the outside shoulder of Elliot Daly, before feeding the Welsh flier for a 21st-minute try.
Wasps briefly sparked into life when Simpson charged down Spencer’s box kick and lock Kearnan Myall was on hand to scoop up the loose ball, assisting Lima Sopoaga for his first Wasps try which the Kiwi duly converted.
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Saracens’ lead had shrunk to eight, but it would leap to a 21-point margin by the end of the half.
Two Farrell penalties sandwiched Australian lock Will Skelton’s 40-metre stride to the line after more good work from Spencer, and some suspect Wasps defence, in the 33rd minute.
It was a case of job done for Saracens entering the second half as they rolled substitutes on to the pitch protecting many of their main assets with bigger challenges ahead on their minds.
Farrell’s fourth penalty broke the second-half deadlock with 20 minutes remaining following Jimmy Gopperth’s introduction to the field of play for his first minutes of the season after recovering from major knee surgery.
Wasps’ mission to merely win the half was handed a major boost when Nathan Hughes powered over for a try that required TMO approval on his penultimate Ricoh Arena performance before a summer switch to Bristol Bears.
Sopoaga’s conversion stoked the atmosphere of a 15,000-plus Ricoh Arena crowd. But no further points were added in the final 10 minutes as Saracens moved a step closer to a league and Champions Cup double while Wasps’ focus now lies solely on securing a top-six finish.