Saracens see off Wasps to go top

Date published: October 9 2016

Saracens ended Wasps' unbeaten run in the Premiership with a 30-14 victory at Allianz Park on Sunday to go top of the standings.

In a hugely physical first half, the defending champions went into the break with a 13-8 lead thanks to tries from Mako Vunipola and Mike Ellery. The visitors' response came through Josh Bassett's score and Jimmy Gopperth's penalty, but Sarries deserved their advantage at the interval. 

Gopperth's two three-pointers to Alex Lozowski's one meant little separated the teams with 13 minutes remaining, but two Jamie George close-range efforts secured the win. 

Wasps dispatched Saracens on their last visit to Allianz Park, thrashing a side deprived of their internationals 64-23, but the hosts were determined not to see a repeat of that humiliation.

They dominated the forward exchanges early on and deserved their 5-0 lead, which was given to them by Vunipola's try. 

For much of the opening period the Midlanders struggled to get out of their own half, but ill-discipline by the London-based outfit allowed Dai Young's men to find some territory.

They managed to capitalise on that possession by benefiting from further Sarries' indiscretions and Gopperth's penalty reduced the arrears after 27 minutes. 

Lozowski responded for the hosts soon after before a piece of Danny Cipriani brilliance helped the visitors to level matters. The fly-half isolated Vunipola, used his searing pace to round the number eight and passed to Bassett, who had the simple task of touching down. 

Despite that setback, Saracens continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded when Maro Itoje charged down Dan Robson's attempted clearance.

Several phases later Wasps' rearguard was in disarray and Richard Wigglesworth picked out Ellery, who crossed the whitewash unopposed. 

Young's team went into the second period with a five-point deficit, but that was reduced when Gopperth kicked a second three-pointer. 

Lozowski restored that buffer from the tee, leaving Mark McCall's side 16-11 in front going into the final quarter. Gopperth scored another penalty, but Sarries increased the intensity once again and effectively sealed the victory through George's touchdown.

The replacement hooker then made it a double five minutes later after Bassett had been sin-binned as they rounded off an excellent performance.

The scorers:

For Saracens
Tries: Vunipola, Ellery, George 2
Cons: Lozowski, Spencer
Pens: Lozowski 2

For London Wasps
Try: Bassett
Pens: Gopperth 3
Yellow Card: Bassett

Saracens: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Matt Gallagher

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth (c), 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Simon McIntyre
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Kyle Eastmond, 23 Frank Halai

Date: Sunday, October 9
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys, Philip Watters 
TMO: Graham Hughes