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Hodgson heroics save Sarries

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 17:10
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Charlie Hodgson went from villain to hero as he recovered from a shaky start to score all of Saracens' points as they downed London Welsh 28-23.

The result kept Saracens in the top four of a very congested Premiership table, where just three points separates the top five teams.

In the other Sunday match London Wasps flyer Christian Wade and his team survived a late Worcester Warriors onslaught to record a 10-6 victory.

It was their second win of this Premiership season.

Sunday scores, reports & scorers!

London Welsh 23-28 Saracens

Charlie Hodgson went from villain to hero as he recovered from a shaky start to score all of Saracens' points as they downed London Welsh 28-23.

Despite undoubtedly being the star of the show Hodgson wouldn't have liked the way he started in the spotlight as his loose pass gifted Phil MacKenzie a first Premiership try.

But the Saracens fly-half crossed himself shortly after - ending Saracens' longest-ever Premiership try drought - and added 23 points with the boot for the win.

Gavin Henson, on his London Welsh debut, kept the hosts in with a shout by keeping their score ticking over with some fine kicking of his own.

And although he played a crucial role in a late score for Tom Arscott, there was no spoiling Hodgson's day as he surpassed his previous best tally for a Premiership game when he scored 27 points for Sale against Leeds a decade ago.

London Welsh started the game on the back foot and after just four minutes saw captain Jonathan Mills sent to the sin-bin after taking the Saracens lifter out at a line-out.

But despite being a man down and under some intense pressure from their visitors they took the lead on eight minutes, Canadian international MacKenzie racing on to a loose pass from Hodgson, hacking forward and then going over for the simple try.

This gave 30-year-old Henson the opportunity to make the perfect introduction on his London Welsh debut, having fractured his cheekbone in a pre-season clash with Scarlets, and the Welshman made no mistake with the simple conversion.

Henson then tried to adhere himself to the Kassam Stadium faithful even further with an audacious 50m penalty attempt only for his kick to fall just short.

Hodgson then tried to make amends for his earlier error with a 47-metre three-pointer of his own but his effort struck the right upright.

But on 15 minutes Hodgson did get Saracens on the scoresheet with a penalty, London Welsh getting off lightly while down to 14 men.

But as Mills rejoined the action Hodgson did make amends for his early gift as he crossed following several good phases of play from Saracens for their first try in four games.

This put Saracens ahead for the first time in the clash and fly-half Hodgson added the extras for a 10-7 lead.

Saracens were dominating possession and territory but could only manage three more Hodgson penalties to their tally before half-time, Henson doing his best to keep up with his opposite number as he knocked over two of his own as London Welsh trailed 19-13 at the interval.

The visitors picked up from where they left off after the restart and on 50 minutes Andy Saull, in his first Premiership start of the season, was put over the try-line by Hodgson only for the flanker to fumble the ball at the very end.

But just five minutes later Saracens did stretch their lead further - that man Hodgson again sending over his fifth penalty.

Five soon became six as the former Sale Shark was successful with another kick just before the hour, Henson replying moments later to keep London Welsh in the tie.

And with just over five minutes remaining London Welsh were indeed in with a shout, Henson's clever pass out left finding Nick Scott, who in turn fed MacKenzie who sent full-back Arscott over.

Henson added the extras to get London Welsh to within two points but almost immediately Hodgson replied with his seventh penalty and the hosts had to settle for a losing bonus point despite one last desperate drive for the line right at the death.

The scorers:

For London Welsh:
Tries:
MacKenzie, Arscott
Cons: Henson 2
Pens: Henson 3

For Saracens:
Try:
Hodgson
Con: Hodgson
Pens: Hodgson 7

Teams:

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 James Lewis, 12 Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Mike Denbee, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Dan George, 1 Frank Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Kirill Kulemin, Alfie To'oala, 21 Nick Runciman, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Seb Jewell.

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Fraser, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Kameli Ratuvou, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Graham Hughes

London Wasps 10-6 Worcester Warriors

London Wasps flyer Christian Wade and his team survived a late Worcester Warriors onslaught to record a 10-6 victory, their second win of this Premiership season.

Wade butchered a dead-set try when he dropped the ball over the tryline in the 55th minute at Adams Park and then saw the Warriors take the ascendancy and nearly sneak victory with a forward-led assault in the final minutes.

Yet solid defence saw Wasps home with their points coming from the boot of Stephen Jones and a first-ever Premiership try by prop Simon McIntyre, while Worcester only got going in the second half, fly-half Andy Goode slotting one penalty and a well-taken drop goal.

Despite Wasps' improved form this season and the Warriors' bonus-point win last time out, an arm wrestle in the tight exchanges was perhaps expected with both teams looking for victory.

Yet it was a bright start at Adams Park with a try after only three minutes.

Threatening runs from Wade and Joe Launchbury gave Wasps good field position from where lock Tom Palmer slipped the ball back inside to McIntyre who crashed over from short range, Jones converting for a 7-0 lead.

Worcester immediately had the chance to hit back via the boot of Goode but the fly-half struck the left upright.

His opposite number Jones had no such problems from the tee and when the Warriors were penalised for not rolling away during a sustained Wasps attack, the Welshman stretched the lead to ten points on 15 minutes.

The Warriors had barely had a chance to run the ball through their hands at this stage but they asserted themselves through Goode's boot and the high work rate of their pack, anchored by England hopeful Matt Kvesic at No. 8.

Goode did engineer a sweeping backline move in the 35th minute but wing Jon Clarke dropped the pass from Chris Pennell.

More direction brought up the visitors' first points just after half-time when Goode slotted a penalty from 35 metres, awarded when Wasps' front row popped up at the scrum.

Jones erred with an attempted penalty just two minutes later, allowing Goode to cut the deficit again with a trademark 45-metre drop-goal from bang in front of the posts.

Then came Wade's scare. Joe Simpson had broken blind from a ruck and chipped majestically over the Warriors' defence into his wing's hands but the ball just wouldn't stick.

Simpson continued to find joy in peeling blind and from one of his forays on 66 minutes Warriors gave away a penalty in the ruck and Jones took aim at the posts but pushed it wide.

Wasps had more opportunities to score but Worcester came closer with their efforts at the death and from a Goode cross kick which almost bounced up for Clarke.

But the Londoners held on and stretched Worcester's losing streak in away league games to ten.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Try:
McIntyre
Con: Jones
Pen: Jones

For Worcester:
Pen:
Goode
DG: Goode

Teams:

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (captain), 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Phil Swainston, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Elliot Daly.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Jon Clarke, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Dean Schofield (captain), 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.

Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Paul Burton

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