November 18, 2017

Premiership: Saracens 44-13 London Irish

Mako Vunipola went over early on for Saracens
Aviva Premiership
Saracens (13) 44
Tries: M Vunipola, Farrell, L Williams, Wyles, Earle 2 Cons: Farrell 4 Pens: Farrell 2
London Irish (6) 13
Try: Paice Con: Bell Pens: Bell 2

Saracens returned to the top of the Premiership with a convincing victory over London Irish at Allianz Park.

England prop Mako Vunipola scored the only try of the first half and Owen Farrell added a couple of penalties as Sarries led 13-6 at the break.

Farrell crossed to extend the advantage before Irish captain David Paice bundled over from a driving maul.

But Sarries dominated the final 25 minutes with Liam Williams, Chris Wyles and Nathan Earle going over.

Saracens, champions in 2015 and 2016, have now won five league matches in a row following their defeat at Bath last month and replace Exeter at the summit.

But they were given a stern test for almost an hour by an Irish side who suffered their sixth Premiership loss in a row.

Paice’s try after 50 minutes had put the visitors within seven points of their opponents before Sarries finally demonstrated their attacking quality.

Wales wing Williams’ try was the first of three in seven minutes as Mark McCall’s side earned a bonus point and stretched their unbeaten home run in the league to more than 18 months.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

“He (Alex Goode) had a magnificent game in every respect. They kicked the ball a lot and we had to be good and secure under the high ball.

“But when their kicks became a bit more wayward his counter-attacking ability, to set the game on fire he knows where the space is. His contribution to the fourth try was amazing.

“He had a great game and fingers crossed he gets what he deserves sometime.

“He (Liam Williams) has perhaps surprised a few people just how good an all-round a player he is.

“He’s unbelievable in the air but does score tries and is aggressive, physical and a brilliant defender.”

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy told BBC Radio Berkshire:

“When you come and play at one of the best teams in Europe, it’s always going to be very tough.

“You have to ride a bit of luck and make sure you don’t make any mistakes and we did that for the best part of 50 minutes, but our discipline let us down and the sin-binning (of lock Teofilo Paul near half-time) was very costly. But, we were still in the game after that.

“But then Saracens showed their class and that they really are ahead of us in their journey as a team that’s been together for a very long time. They really turned it on when they needed to as the game got close.”

Saracens: Goode; Williams, Tompkins, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Farrell, Spencer; Vunipola, George, Koch, Isiekwe, Kruis, Clark, Burger, Wray.

Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Figallo, Skelton, Earl, Wigglesworth, Lozowski, Earle.

London Irish: Bell; Cokanasiga, Fowlie, Mulchrone, Lewington; Marshall, Meehan; Franks, Paice (capt), Du Plessis, Van der Merwe, Paulo, McNally, Cowan, Treviranus.

Replacements: Woolstencroft, Elrington, Hoskins, Schatz, Northcote-Green, Steele, Brophy Clews, Ojo.

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