Saracens back at the top of the pile

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 21:54
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PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Saracens and Newcastle shrugged off the jet lag after their trip to the United States last weekend to record victories.

After losing to Saracens in Philadelphia last Sunday, Newcastle raced into a 19-0 lead in the first half with tries by Sonatane Takulua, Rob Vickers and DTH van der Merwe.

Bath came back with 32 unanswered points of their own through tries by Matt Banahan, Semesa Rokoduguni, Charlie Ewels and Jonathan Joseph.

But Newcastle surged back to seize the win with tries from Chris Harris and Mark Wilson.

* Meanwhile Liam Williams crossed on his home debut and Ben Spencer bagged a double as Saracens used a fast start to cruise to a third victory of the Premiership season against Sale Sharks.

* In the other Saturday match Leicester Tigers picked up their second straight Premiership win as they beat Harlequins 31-28 in a breathless, high-quality affair at Twickenham Stoop.

We look at all the Saturday matches!

Harlequins 28-31 Leicester

Leicester Tigers picked up their second straight Premiership win as they beat Harlequins 31-28 in a breathless, high-quality affair at Twickenham Stoop.

Tigers had a slender 11-9 lead at the interval, Telusa Veainu's try the difference regardless of Marcus Smith outscoring mentor George Ford by three penalties to two.

And despite tries for Danny Care, Mat Luamanu and Alofa Alofa in a furious second half, Jonny May and Greg Bateman also scored for Leicester - with two more Ford penalties sealing a narrow away triumph.

The hosts started off on the front foot, building the phases before winning a penalty right in front of the posts for Smith to slot through, but Ford produced a swift response from the tee as Tigers won a scrum penalty.

Leicester then found themselves ahead after 11 minutes courtesy of Veainu's first try of the season; Tigers got quick ball out to the left and after being released by Jonny May, the full-back used all his momentum to hold off Joe Marchant, Charlie Walker and Mike Brown to dot the ball down.

Ford missed the touchline conversion attempt and over the next quarter of an hour Smith's boot edged Quins ahead once more - the young No.10 making no mistake with two routine penalties.

Despite the hosts coming close to a score when Smith intercepted a loose Ben Youngs pass deep in the Leicester half, he could not offload to Chris Robshaw before being tackled into touch by Veainu.

And it was Tigers who went into the break ahead with another penalty after Rob Buchanan was pinged for not rolling away.

But Care's quick thinking resulted in a tap-and-go score under the posts after Alofa made ground off the back of scrum and Ellis Genge conceded a penalty.

Moments later more Quins pressure in defence forced the mistake from Veainu, and Marland Yarde's perfect offload to Luamanu saw the No.8 rumble over in the right corner.

Tigers now trailed 21-11 but fought fire with fire after sin-bins for Ellis Genge and Will Collier from the same scrum opened up some space.

May was the first beneficiary as he scored a 52nd-minute try made by Matt Toomua, before Ford's flat pass to Bateman allowed the replacement prop to dance through the Quins defence five minutes later and put Leicester ahead.

The remarkably frantic second half continued as Alofa bisected the Tigers defence to score from Care's pass, but two Ford penalties edged the visitors 31-28 ahead with seven minutes remaining.

Leicester threw the kitchen sink at the hosts' line in search for a bonus-point try, but while Dom Barrow just knocked on from close range, Quins could not get the ball up the other end for a match-winning score.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries:
Care, Luamana, Alofa
Cons: Smith, Swiel
Pens: Smith 3

For Leicester:
Tries:
Veainu, May, Bateman
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 4

Teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Ben Glynn, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Alofa Alofa.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Siona Kalamafoni, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Valentino Mapapalangi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Matthew Tait.

Saracens 41-13 Sale Sharks

Liam Williams crossed on his home debut and Ben Spencer bagged a double as Saracens used a fast start to cruise to a third victory of the Premiership season against Sale Sharks.

Williams and Spencer both went over inside the first ten minutes for Sarries - who lost Billy Vunipola to a first-half injury - as Owen Farrell was flawless from the tee.

Faf De Klerk, parachuted into the fly-half role after the late withdrawal of AJ MacGinty, pulled back a penalty for the Sharks but the defending European champions were 17-3 to the good at the break.

And the hosts turned on the style in the second half of their first game of the season at Allianz Park, Spencer grabbing his second of the afternoon before Vincent Koch sealed the bonus-point win.

Byron McGuigan grabbed two consolation scores for the Sharks but there was also time for replacement Nathan Earle to canter over for Sarries' fifth in a dominant victory.

Mark McCall's side are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Sale and the first try of the afternoon did not take long to materialise.

Williams' initial break down the left made the inroads before Spencer sniped round the fringes to dot down in the sixth minute.

And moments later they had a second, Williams the beneficiary this time as Spencer spotted a gap down the short side to put the winger over in the left corner.

De Klerk then slotted a penalty to get Sale on the board but two penalties either side of the interval from Farrell - despite a painful looking knee injury to Billy Vunipola that saw him withdrawn - stretched the lead to 20-3.

Farrell then broke the line to release Spencer for their third try while at the other end Josh Charnley knocked on in the act of grounding what would have been a fantastic solo score.

And it was Koch who grabbed the all-important fourth score in the 64th minute, barrelling over from close range.

McGuigan grabbed two late consolations for the Sharks in the right corner, the latter from a lovely chip from Ben Curry who replaced his equally impressive twin brother Tom, either side of Earle's touchdown in the left corner.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries:
Spencer 2, Williams, Koch
Cons: Farrell 4
Pens: Farrell 2

For Sale Sharks:
Tries:
McGuigan 2
Pen: De Klerk

Teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Callum Clark, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Nathan Earle.

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Josh Charnley, 10 AJ McGinty, 9 Faf De Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Alex Tarus, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Nield, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Andre Ostrikov, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Thomas Ioane, 22 Will Cliff, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Bath 32-33 Newcastle Falcons

Five-try Newcastle Falcons resisted a second-half fightback to edge a thrilling match at the Rec, their first win at the ground since October 2009.

Dean Richards' side stretched into a sizeable first-half lead with tries from Sonatane Takulua, Rob Vickers, and a first Newcastle try for DTH van der Merwe.

Bath responded through Matt Banahan, Semesa Rokoduguni, Charlie Ewels and a blistering effort from Jonathan Joseph.

But the Falcons flew back into the game with Chris Harris' try, and Joel Hodgson's conversion from Mark Wilson's late score sealed Newcastle's third win of the campaign.

The Falcons were ahead after just eight minutes when Santiago Socino, on his first Premiership start, made a searing line-break before offloading to the livewire Takulua.

Five minutes later veteran prop Vickers burrowed over to double the Falcons' advantage, with Takulua adding the extras.

The visitors' third try came from Canada's record try-scorer van der Merwe, who dotted down in the corner following Craig Willis' sublime corkscrew kick.

Bath responded through club stalwart Banahan, who powered over the line after a now trademark midfield break from centre Max Clark.

Newcastle led 19-10 at the break, but after the restart a loose pass fell, quite unfortunately for Newcastle, to Rokoduguni who put on the afterburners to round Nili Latu.

Minutes later a delayed pass from Rhys Priestland put Joseph through a hole, and he offloaded to Ewels who crashed over next to the posts.

And Joseph soon got his name on the scoresheet with a superb try, collecting from a quick-tap and jinking his way to the line from his own half.

Harris ran-in for Newcastle's bonus-point try, and Wilson got their fifth from close range, with Hodgson holding his nerve to get the all-important final conversion.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries:
Banahan, Rokoduguni, Ewels, Joseph
Cons: Priestland 3
Pens: Priestland 2

For Newcastle:
Tries:
Takulua, Vickers, van der Merwe, Harris, Wilson
Cons: Takuala 2, Hodgson 2

Teams:

Bath: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Paul Grant, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Charlie Ewels, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Nick Auterac .
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Phillips, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Ben Tapuai, 23 Aled Brew.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Sami Mavinga, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Josh Matavesi.

Source: @premrugby  
 

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