Saracens put away Exiles

Date published: October 31 2015

Saracens came back from trailing at half-time to defeat visitors London Irish 24-14 at Allianz Park in the Premiership on Saturday.

Saracens continued their 100 percent start to the season, keeping Irish without a win.

This was a performance of great character from Sarries, losing by four points at half time having dominated throughout the first half. 

It took a sin-bin for Asaeli Tikoirotuma to turn the game in the hosts' favour. Last season's champions didn't have everything their own way but produced a performance to live up to their status. 

They now sit atop the Aviva premiership table with three wins from three and look in good shape with their World Cup stars returning. 

This is in contrast to Irish, who have now lost their first three matches of the season. They would have hoped to obtain a bonus point from a match which was close throughout.

The hosts turned the screw late on but the visitors showed signs of improvement and will hope that this match can be the catalyst for improvement. 

Saracens had dominated the early exchanges and took the lead through a penalty from Owen Farrell in the 15th minute. The usually reliable Farrell missed two further attempts in the next ten minutes as the hosts sought to press home their advantage. 

Irish took an unexpected lead in the 28th minute, a converted try from Tikoirotuma after a rare foray into the hosts' half of the pitch. Chris Noakes added the extras, giving the visitors a four point lead going into the half-time break. 

Farrell found his kicking boots once more after the break, slotting home a penalty nine minutes into the second half.

The visitors' try-scorer Tikoirotuma was sent to the sin-bin in the 49th minute following a high tackle. This proved to be costly, Sarries taking advantage by making four substitutions before Jackson Wray went over for his side's first try. The flanker crossing after a catch-and-drive to put the hosts into an 11-7 lead. 

Farrell missed the conversion to continue an uncharacteristically poor display for the England man. 

The Champions extended their lead to nine points ten minutes later. Full-back Alex Goode stepping past his man before touching down from close range. Farrell converted this time to put his side into a dominant position. 

Leo Halavatau gave Irish hope in the 66th minute with a try which was converted by Shane Geraghty. 

However, the visitors conceded a penalty immediately after the restart which was scored by Farrell to restore the home side's advantage to seven points. 

Saracens secured the victory with five minutes to go, Farrell splitting the posts with a penalty to give his side a 24-14 lead.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Wray, Goode
Con: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 4

For London Irish:
Tries: Tikoirotuma, Halavatau
Cons: Noakes, Geraghty
Yellow Card: Tikoirotuma

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

Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell, Paul Dix
TMO: Trevor Fisher