Saracens cement top spot

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 16:50
Large schalkbritslondonwelsh Large sebstegmannsaracenstry Large joeltomkinslondonwelsh

Three second-half tries helped Saracens pick up a 35-14 bonus point win over London Welsh and leapfrog Harlequins into top spot in the Premiership.

Second-half tries from Joel Tomkins, Will Fraser and David Strettle helped Saracens pick up a 35-14 bonus point win over London Welsh and leapfrog Harlequins into top spot in the Premiership.

Tomkins and Fraser scored within 15 minutes of each other after the break while Saracens wing Strettle touched down inside the final ten to add to a penalty try in the first half.

London Welsh scored first through new signing from Harlequins Seb Stegmann with flyhalf Gavin Henson kicking two penalties and a drop-goal but, once in front, Saracens were never reeled in.

Discipline contributed to London Welsh's downfall as Phil Mackenzie and Tom Bristow were yellow carded in the first half while of Hodgson's 15 points nine were from penalties.

The bonus point win moves Saracens top of the Premiership with the cushion over reigning champions Harlequins four points with five matches of the regular season left.

Sarries got their first points on the board inside the first minute as Alistair Hargreaves' charge down earned them a penalty in front of the posts that Hodgson converted.

Saracens were camped in London Welsh's half and the visitors were penalised for not rolling away in the 16th minute with Hogdson kicking his second penalty.

Sarries were unrelenting with their pressure and had the chance to make it 9-0 when Alfie To'oala was penalised for being off his feet at the breakdown but this time Hodgson missed.

And it was London Welsh who scored the first try of the game in the 26th minute as they shifted the ball from right to left before finding Stegmann out wide and in space.

The 23-year-old stepped inside Saracens wing James Short and found a gap in which he could use his pace to go over the whitewash uncontested although Henson couldn't convert the score.

However, within two minutes continuous offences saw Mackenzie yellow carded and moments later Saracens scored a penalty try after a line-out right in London Welsh's right corner.

To make matters worse, Welsh were reduced to 13 as Bristow saw yellow this time although they did score through a Henson penalty after a good break by Tom Arscott.

Hodgson returned the favour after Welsh were penalised for a scrum offence however Henson had the final say of the half with a drop-goal from range just going over after clipping the crossbar.

It took Saracens six minutes of the second half to score their second try as Hodgson fed Duncan Taylor from a scrum who laid off for Tomkins to barge his way over.

Hodgson converted to make it 23-11 however Henson kept London Welsh ticking over with a penalty in the 56th minute after a prolonged period of pressure.

A second missed penalty from Hodgson followed three minutes later and he couldn't convert Fraser's 61st-minute score, set up by Schalk Brits and Strettle.

Still London Welsh wouldn't go away but Henson was denied a first Premiership try for London Welsh after Arscott was ruled to have obstructed in the build up.

Saracens pressed Welsh's line in pursuit of the bonus point and it duly arrived inside the final ten minutes when Strettle was afforded space with Hodgson converting.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Penalty try, Tomkins, Fraser, Strettle
Cons: Hodgson 3
Pens: Hodgson 3

For London Welsh:
Pens: Henson 2
DG: Henson

Yellow cards: Phil MacKenzie (London Welsh, 29), Tom Bristow (London Welsh, 34)


Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Ben Ransom.

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Seb Stegmann, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Julio Cabello Farias, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 James Tideswell, 2 Greg Bateman, 1 Tom Bristow.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Billy Moss, 18 Paulica Ion, 19. Matt Corker, 20 Daniel Browne, 21 Alex Davies, 22 Gordon Ross, 23 Tom Voyce.

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Andrew Watson
TMO: David Grashoff

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Team P W D L Pts
Northampton Saints 22 16 1 5 76
Bath 22 16 0 6 75
Leicester Tigers 22 15 1 6 68
Saracens 22 14 1 7 68
Exeter Chiefs 22 14 0 8 68
Wasps 22 11 2 9 61
Sale Sharks 22 11 0 11 54
Harlequins 22 10 0 12 49
Gloucester 22 9 1 12 48
London Irish 22 7 1 14 40
Newcastle Falcons 22 5 1 16 34
London Welsh 22 0 0 22 1