Bok lock puts Sarries on top
Bok lock puts Sarries on topSHARE
Alistair Hargreaves scored Saracens' sole try, as they claimed a share of the lead on the English Premiership table.
The Springbok lock, Hargreaves, was both hero and villain – having been yellow carded late in the first half for repeated offences at the breakdown.
Charlie Hodgson kicked 21 points as Sarries ended London Wasps' two-game winning streak in the Premiership with a 29-24 victory.
They are now on the same points as defending champions Harlequins at the top of the table, both on 28, with Quins just edging Sarries on points difference – by one solitary point.
In the other Sunday match Nick Scott was London Welsh's last-minute hero scoring a 40-metre interception try to give the Exiles their second Premiership home win of the year, upsetting Bath 16-9.
We look at all Sunday's action!
Saracens 29-24 London Wasps
Alistair Hargreaves scored Saracens' sole try and Charlie Hodgson kicked 21 points as they ended London Wasps' two-game winning streak in the Premiership with a 29-24 victory.
Hargreaves charged down a Charlie Davies kick in the 27th minute while Hodgson slotted seven penalties in total, four after the break, as Sarries ran out winners at Vicarage Road.
Wasps led through Tom Varndell's early try, his seventh in the Premiership this season, and were given hope at the death when Davies made amends for his earlier mistake with a score.
But Saracens held on to record the win and pull level on points with Harlequins at the top of the Premiership however Davies' try was significant as it gave Wasps a losing bonus point.
Sarries were the first team to score after a snaking run from David Strettle in the third minute garnered an opportunity for flyhalf Hodgson to slot an easy penalty.
However Wasps immediately hit back on the counter as Christian Wade found Hugo Southwell who broke before feeding Varndell clear on the right for the first try of the match.
Nicky Robinson couldn't convert and failed with a second kick in the 14th minute, this time a penalty after Joel Tomkins was caught on the wrong side of the tackle.
But, while he struggled from the tee early on, out of the hand luck was on Robinson's side and he just about sent a drop goal over in the 19th minute after Wasps pressed the Saracens line.
However Hodgson kept Saracens close with a successful penalty moments later and edged them ahead with another after James Haskell was adjudged to be off his feet at the breakdown.
And with just over ten minutes to go before half-time, Saracens grabbed their first try as Hargreaves charged down Davies' kick and chased hard to score.
The 26-year-old lock appeared to hurt himself in doing so and was temporarily replaced by George Kruis as Hodgson failed to convert with the score at 14-8.
Wasps had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 33rd minute when Kelly Brown was caught offside but Elliot Daly sent the long-range penalty crashing against the post.
However three minutes before the break Robinson made no mistake with another Wasps penalty comfortably kicking three points after Schalk Brits failed to release.
Ecstasy then turned into agony for Hargreaves as he was given a yellow card for going in at the side and Robinson slotted the resulting penalty off the left post to level the scores at 14-14.
It didn't take long for Saracens to retake the lead after the break with Nils Mordt kicking a penalty two minutes in while Hodgson was off after a clash of heads with Davies.
But, with a minute to go before Hargreaves came out of the sin bin, Robinson kicked his third penalty right in front of the posts after a period of Wasps pressure.
A lengthy delay ensued in the 65th minute after Hargreaves, not long back on the pitch, came off worse in a collision with Haskell and left on a stretcher but was later seen sitting up fine.
Haskell was penalised and Hodgson kicked three more points before repeating the trick twice more as the game began to get away from Wasps with Saracens leading 26-17.
Replacement Tom Bell missed a penalty for Wasps as the last ten minutes approached with Hodgson showing him how it's done moments later, easily slotting his seventh of the afternoon.
Davies then scored Wasps' second try with less than three minutes remaining and Bell converted but it was too little too late.
Pens: Hodgson 7, Mordt
For London Wasps:
Tries: Varndell, Davies
Pens: Robinson 3
Yellow card: Allister Hargreaves (Saracens, 38 – repeated offences at the breakdown)
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Kameli Ratuvou, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Joe Maddock.
London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (captain), 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Phil Swainston, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 James Cannon, 20 Jonathan Poff, 21 Jonah Holmes, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Andrea Masi.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Kevin Stewart
TMO: David Grashoff
London Welsh 16-9 Bath
Nick Scott was London Welsh's last-minute hero scoring a 40-metre interception try to give the Exiles their second Premiership home win of the year, upsetting Bath Rugby 16-9.
The former Bath wing picked off Stephen Donald's pass to complete an astonishing comeback, after the World Cup-winning flyhalf looked to have kicked his side to victory.
In a game characterised by its relentless kicking battle, the Kassam Stadium came to life in the final moments, with Gordon Ross coming off the bench to tie the game followed seconds later by Scott's heroics on the last play.
With flyhalves Donald and Gavin Henson both content to go to the air as their first option – the game was characterised by field position and errors, with the visitors winning both categories.
Welsh were always in the game however – with the feeling one try would win the game for either side – after some outstanding goal-line defence denied Bath crossing on three occasions.
Despite some impressive scrummaging by the London Welsh front-row, Lyn Jones' side looked to have slipped to their third bonus-point loss of the season with Donald holding his nerve to kick two second-half penalties and overturn a three-point deficit.
However, with the win the Premiership new-boys move eight points clear of bottom club Sale, while Bath drift further out of the play-off picture.
Henson opened the scoring for the home side on ten minutes with a strike from out wide, after both he and Donald saw early attempts miss the target.
On 16 minutes, Welsh drove a line-out into Bath territory, and Kiwi scrum-half Tyson Keats broke from the base, darting into the Bath 22 and forcing a penalty – Henson converting form 35 metres to double his side's lead.
As Bath worked their way deep into Exiles territory, Michael Claassens began pulling the strings and sending runners round the corner.
Promising No.8 Will Skuse proved an effective and willing carrier and it was one of his drives that led to Welsh again being penalised at the breakdown. Donald stroked the easy kick to put Bath within three.
With the clock ticking down Welsh conceded possession, knocking on at the base of an attacking scrum and were whistled for a penalty on the resulting Bath scrum.
Donald kicked his side within 20 metres, and a smart move at the front of the line-out put Lee Mears through, only to be cut down five metres out.
Bath's forward runners once again flooded the fringes, with lock Dave Attwood hitting the ball with real purpose on a wider line.
Attwood crashed over under the posts only for referee Andrew Small to signal the ball held up, and send the team's in for half-time.
Donald levelled the scores on 51 minutes with a well-struck penalty from 35 metres after the referee deemed the Welsh front-row to have collapsed a scrum.
Bath took the lead 13 minutes later from a Donald penalty – a carbon copy of his previous attempt – after a Bath jumper was pulled down at the line-out.
With Scottish flyhalf Ross taking over kicking duties – he was called on within minutes of stepping on the field, Bath being whistled for an infringement at the breakdown just outside their 22.
As he did against Wasps last week, Ross held his nerve and slotted the penalty – levelling the scores.
With Welsh finally looking to move the ball, Tom Arscott came close to putting Scott through on the left wing with the ball dropping agonisingly out of the wing's reach.
With a draw looking inevitable, Scott gambled on a Donald miss pass, reading the fly-half perfectly to come in off his wing and intercept the ball before outpacing Kyle Eastmond to the line to seal the win.
For London Welsh:
Pens: Henson 2, Ross
Pens: Donald 3
London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Nick Scott, 13 Sonny Parker, 12. Gavin Henson, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Nick Runciman, 8 Lee Beach, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Jonathan Mills (captain), 5 Matt Corker, 4 Martin Purdy, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Tom Bristow.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17. Bill Moss, 18. Arthur Joly, 19. Adam Brown, 20. Mike Denbee, 21. Tyson Keats, 22. Seb Jewell, 23. James Lewis.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Will Skuse, 6 Stuart Hooper (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Horacio Agulla.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Stuart Terheege