Ashton treble as Saracens cruise

Date published: December 19 2015

Saracens made it four wins out of four in this season's Champions Cup as they dominated Oyonnax 55-13 at Allianz Park on Saturday.

With a resounding victory across the Channel last weekend already under their belt, Saracens took the lead at Allianz Park with a try from Chris Ashton. 

In an opening quarter that saw both sides' line-outs along with their handling letting them down at times, Oyonnax hit back with a penalty from Régis Lespinas to open their account for the game. 

After a period of dominance from Saracens at the breakdown, Owen Farrell kicked a penalty of his own. Another neat kick from Farrell, this time a probing grubber to find Ashton who scored his and Saracens second try of the game. 

Self-inflicted errors continued to cost Saracens however, with Lespinas kicking another three points for the away side. After a fairly underwhelming half by Saracens' high standards, they finished on a good note with a third try from number eight Samuela Vunisa after a powerful driving maul.

With six wins from six in the Aviva Premiership, Saracens were looking to make it four from four in Europe. Vunisa started the second half as he finished the first, with another try from a Saracens driving maul to secure the bonus point for Mark McCall's men. 

Saracens continued to extend their lead when Alex Goode cut through the Oyonnax defence with ease to run in a sublime try from his own ten metre line. 

A few minutes later the win became a rout when Mike Ellery picked up a loose pass from the French side to sprint through unopposed to score Saracens sixth try. 

The seventh followed shortly afterwards when replacement hooker Jamie George picked an unbelievable line to power over the whitewash. Oyonnax did grab a consolation through Tongan international winger Fetu'u Vainikolo. 

The ex-Exeter Chiefs man intercepted a Charlie Hodgson pass to cross the line and restore a small amount of pride for the side rooted to the bottom of the Top 14. 

With England's upcoming Six Nations tie with Scotland firmly on the mind, Ashton grabbed his hat-trick with five minutes to go after he pounced on a kick through from Richard Wigglesworth. 

This resounding win all but seals a quarter final place for Saracens, in a season where they not only look to defend their Aviva Premiership crown; but also look to become champions of Europe for the first time.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Ashton 3, Vunisa 2, Goode, Ellery, George
Con: Farrell 4, Hodgson 2
Pen: Farrell

For Oyonnax:
Try: Vainikolo
Con: Clegg
Pen: Lespinas 2

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil De Kock, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Ben Ransom.

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Daniel Ikpefan, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Uwa Tawalo, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Regis Lespinas, 9 Julien Blanc, 8 Florian Faure, 7 Pedrie Wannenburg, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Geoffrey Fabbri, 4 Leon Power, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Jeremie Maurouard, 1 Laurent Delboulbès.
Replacements: 16 Jody Jenneker, 17 Stan Wright, 18 Horace Pungea, 19 Viliami Maafu, 20 Thomas Bordes, 21 Arthur Aziza, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Vincent Martin.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)