Saracens rout Gloucester to go top

Sun, 15 Sep 2013 18:32
Large owen farrell saracens ball

Saracens stormed to the top of the Premiership on Sunday after they took advantage of the early dismissal of prop Nick Wood to rout Gloucester 44-12.

Saracens stormed to the top of the Premiership on Sunday after they took advantage of the early dismissal of prop Nick Wood to rout Gloucester 44-12.

Wood received the second fastest red card in Premiership history after twice stamping on Namibia flank Jacques Burger's head with just 73 seconds on the clock.

The quickest sending off belongs to Mike Watson of London Scottish, who lasted just 42 seconds against Bath in 1999.

The incident gave referee Wayne Barnes an easy decision to make and Wood trudged off to leave Gloucester with 14 men and an uphill task for virtually the entire game.

Their resistance lasted only until the third quarter when Saracens pulled clear.

Tries from centre Joel Tomkins, South Africa hooker Schalk Brits and No.8 Billy Vunipola, as well as two from England wing David Strettle produced Saracens' second bonus-point victory in two matches, while Owen Farrell kicked 17 points.

Freddie Burns's greater creativity saw him edge his England flyhalf duel with Farrell, but the Gloucester playmaker was forced off with eight minutes remaining after receiving a heavy tackle from man of the match Burger.

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies agreed with the official's call on the red card and revealed Wood had apologised to his team-mates for his behaviour.

"It's very difficult for Nick, he's in bits in the changing room. I saw it on the big screen like everybody else and it didn't look great," Davies said.

"Nick is not a dirty player and never has been. He's a good technician and a good rugby player.

"We'll look at the video and take it from there. The red card, as it was seen by the referee, was fair.

"Nick's apologised for what happened and has been big enough to do that. He's a good guy and will come back stronger. Everybody makes mistakes."

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tomkins, Strettle 2, Brits, Vunipola
Cons: Farrell 4, Spencer
Pens: Farrell 3

For Gloucester:
Burns 4

Yellow card: Kalamafoni (56 mins - professional foul)
Red card: Nick Wood (1 min - foul play)

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle; 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Billy Vunipola, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 James Johnston, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Ben Ransom.

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Matt Kvesic, 5 Lua Lokotui, 4 Tom Savage (captain), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

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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