Saracens continue 100% start to the season with 24-14 success against London Irish
Asaeli Tikoirotuma’s first-half try gave London Irish the lead at the break
Scores after the restart from Jackson Wray and Alex Goode secured the win for the reigning champions
Saracens came from behind to continue their perfect start to the season with an in the end comfortable win against London Irish at Allianz Park on Saturday.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma’s first half try for the Exiles separated the two sides at half-time despite Owen Farrell’s penalty kick in the opening stages.
The turning point in the game came when Tikoirotuma was sin-binned in the second half, leading to Jackson Wray and Alex Goode crossing the whitewash for the hosts.
Mark McCall’s Sarries were in no mood for a horror show on halloween, and opened the scoring after 14 minutes as Farrell made no mistake from the tee with a penalty.
Two lineout steals followed for Saracens’ Maro Itoje, increasing the pressure on the away side and forcing another penalty This time Farrell didn’t manage to divert the kick between the posts and the score remained at 3-0.
London Irish’s opening try of the game came through Tikoirotuma soon after. The Fiji international used his pace and power against the run of play to score the try and Chris Noakes converted to give the visitors and unlikely lead, which they held until the break, 3-7.
Irish’s brilliant defensive play continued in the second, however, after conceding an early penalty Farrell duly kicked over.
Saracen’s pressure showed again just 3 minutes later, resulting in Tikoirotuma being sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on wing Chris Ashton.
And immediately after Jackson Wray made the most of their extra man advantage, with a try after a catch-and-drive on the 52nd minute. Farrell added the extras to give the hosts a four-point lead,13-7.
Goode added another try to reflect the dominance in Saracen’s play, with Farrell again kicking over the conversion.
The visitors though didn’t give up on the game with Leo Halavatau’s converted score keeping the Exiles in the hunt, 18-14.
The quality of last season’s Aviva Premiership Champions’ team showed in the last 10 minutes, with Farrell kicking another two penalties to secure the 24-14 victory for the Saracens, making that three wins in three games.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Saracens: Jackson Wray
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Brad Barritt, 23 Chris Wyles.
London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Fergus Mulchrone, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Matt Symons, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Smallbone.
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Tom Court, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 David Sisi, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Alex Lewington.
Date: Saturday, October 31
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Simon McConnell, Paul Dix
Television match official: Trevor Fisher
Timekeeper: Robert Ockenden
Assessor: Gary Welsh