Wyles pleased to score in 200th appearance as Saracens overcome Exeter to reclaim top spot
- Credit: Archant
Chris Wyles was delighted to mark his 200th appearance for Saracens with a try as the Hendon outfit won Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Exeter and returned to the Premiership summit.
Alex Goode, who was also playing his 200th game for the club, opened the scoring and Billy Vunipola, Owen Farrell, Jackson Wray and Wyles also crossed the line in a 36-18 victory at Allianz Park.
“It was an amazing day,” Wyles told Sarries TV. “I feel privileged to be on the pitch with these guys – they’re amazing players.
“To be here and celebrate 200 appearances and then get a try [is great], but mainly [I’ve enjoyed] just watching the rest of my team-mates play unbelievable rugby.
“It’s just a pleasure playing with these boys and hopefully we can take this kind of game forward with a lot of confidence when we play Bath next week.”
Farrell spent the Six Nations campaign playing at inside centre but, a week after helping England to complete the Grand Slam, he returned to fly-half for Saracens and scored a try while also kicking three conversions in a big performance against Exeter.
“It says a bit about Owen, having not played at 10 for eight or nine weeks, to produce that kind of performance, and that goes for all of our international players,” said Sarries’ head coach Mark McCall.
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“To win a Grand Slam and the high of that, and then to turn in the performance that they all did, says something about them.”
Farrell added: “You don’t feel like you have to pull yourself out of bed to get up for a game against Exeter, and next week we’ve got Bath away and then Northampton in the quarter-final in Europe.
“It’s easy for us to come back into this. Everyone was excited this week to get playing with the boys and to put a good performance in.”
Saracens had struggled in their previous four games while their international stars were absent, only winning once and losing their place at the top of the table.
Chairman Nigel Wray bemoaned that situation in his programme notes on Saturday, writing: “Our supporters don’t get to see some of the best players in the land for probably one-third to one-half of the season. The southern hemisphere has worked it out so that their Super Rugby season does not compete with international series.
“It is absolutely essential that we organise our season so that the Premiership is not seen as some second-rate product to the Six Nations, but we play at different times and support, rather than compete with, each other.”
McCall commented: “That was Billy Vunipola’s fifth game in the Premiership this season. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to not have those players for almost two-thirds of the season, but it is what it is.”
Asked for his thoughts, Farrell said: “It’s not something I’ve thought about. It’s different this year.
“There have been eight weeks of Premiership games (with the Six Nations players away). Normally there’s, what, four? This is a different year because of the World Cup.
“It will be a tough period for some clubs, yeah. They are the cards you are dealt. We just get on with what we’ve got to do.”